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Brit censors firm up rules

Body based research on views of 11,000 people

LONDON — The British Board of Film Classification is to get tough on films involving scenes of racism, violence, self-harm and suicide.

The board highlights these areas as growing concerns in its first classification guidelines report in five years.

These issues were addressed in the updated classification guidelines published Wednesday.

The body based its research on the views of more than 11,000 people, using focus groups to look at violence, bad language and drugs.

The onscreen depiction of suicide techniques is something that has particularly irked Brit censors.

Artist Tracey Emin’s directorial debut, “Top Spot,” was awarded an “18” rating for a scene of a teenager slitting her wrists in the bath (Daily Variety, Nov. 18). Decision enraged Emin, who pulled pic from theatrical release in protest.

The government org’s report also promised a public awareness campaign to educate auds about the widely misunderstood “12A” rating, an advisory rating for 12-year-olds that replaced the mandatory “12” rating in 2002.

BBFC research found 60% of the 11,00 members of the public polled were unsure what the rating means.

“We did consider whether a cut-off age should be introduced to address the problem of very young children being taken to unsuitable films,” said BBFC director David Cooke. But the org decided imposing a mandatory age restriction on an advisory rating would only increase confusion.

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