Aside from 2 scenes, pic panel defends content

LONDON — The British Board of Film Classification has demanded cuts in David Fincher’s “Fight Club” for its U.K. theatrical release.

According to a BBFC statement, the censor has trimmed two scenes in which “there was an indulgence in the excitement of beating a (defenseless) man’s face into a pulp.”

“Fight Club,” which will be released Friday by 20th Century Fox, has been awarded an 18 certificate, restricting the film to an adult-only audience.

It is very rare for the BBFC to impose cuts upon the theatrical release of a mainstream Hollywood movie. Most BBFC interventions come at the video-release stage, when there is greater chance of children being exposed to difficult material.

The BBFC is clearly bracing itself for a media uproar about “Fight Club.” Its statement points out that the film has less violent content than many other pics that have passed entirely without public concern.

The panel considered but dismissed claims that the film contained “dangerously instructive information” and could “encourage anti-social (behavior).”

And the BBFC noted, “The film as a whole is — quite clearly — critical and sharply parodic of the amateur fascism which in part it portrays,” adding, “Its central theme of male machismo (and the anti-social behaviour that flows from it) is emphatically rejected by the central character in the concluding reels.”

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