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‘Songs’ of ratings discord

Gauls cry censorship whie Brits play it safe

Sex on the bigscreen is clearly, well, a matter of diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.

Take Michael Winterbottom‘s “9 Songs.”

The British Board of Film Classification approved the sexually explicit pic for general release without any cuts, giving it an 18-and-over certificate.

But the same classification has been slammed as overly censorious in France.

Three Gallic industry orgs last week urged the culture minister to overrule the country’s classification board and allow those 16-and-over to see the pic.

“9 Songs” certainly isn’t the first arthouse movie to feature actual onscreen sex. But there’s a lot more horizontal action in “9 Songs,” as it intersperses footage of rock concerts attended by the film’s two protagonists with graphic sex scenes between them.

In Gaul the powerful SACD royalties org complained that an 18-and-over certificate for the film would equate it “to a porn film” and “deprive it of a wide audience.”

The Film Directors’ Society and the ARP, which reps screenwriter, helmer and producer hyphenates, both say the classification “gravely undermined the freedom of choice of young people and adults.”

All three orgs said they feared more frequent censorship of arthouse fare following the introduction earlier this year of simple majority voting at the film classification board. Gallic distrib Pan Europeene, however, has not opposed the rating.

There’s also an economic component to the Gallic orgs’ concerns: Any pic with an 18 and over certificate cannot be aired by a terrestrial broadcaster — removing the possibility of a valuable TV deal.

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