Sweden cuts out film censorship

Country ends bans on film distribution

STOCKHOLM — Sweden is putting a blue line through film censorship.

The government has decided to close the board of film censors, Statens Biografbyra, in 2011, 100 years after it was founded. From then on, any film will be able to be released in Sweden, as long as it does not break laws governing such things as child pornography.

The current age-related rating system — general, 7, 11 and 15 — will be kept though and any film that is not submitted to the new national ratings body, as yet unnamed, will automatically get a 15 rating.

For many years, the only function of the board of censors has been to decide age restrictions. No cuts have been made in a major film since Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” in 1995, and since 1997 only two films, both mixing hard-core pornography with violence, have been banned.

The only thing that has kept the board of film censors from being abolished before was a disagreement between politicians. Now even the representatives from the Christian party, Kristdemokraterna, have joined the others, and are positive about the change.

There have been discussions about adding an 18 rating, but that idea has been abandoned.

Marianne Eliasson, who has been the government’s chief censor, said, “It will now be impossible to stop a film from being shown.”