Quite glorious!

The subversive British filmmaker Charlie Lyne was looking for a way to express his displeasure with the U.K.’s film censorship bureaucracy. So he decided to use the website Kickstarter to crowdsource funding for the dullest movie imaginable.

Like the Motion Picture Association of America, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rates and classifies movies. But unlike in the U.S., in the U.K. it’s actually illegal to screen unrated movies or sell them on DVD. The BBFC can also ban a movie altogether unless the filmmaker cuts the parts the Board finds offensive.

What’s more, the BBFC requires filmmakers to pay for this mandatory exercise in classification. There’s an initial fee of 101 pounds ($147) with another 7.09 pounds ($10.35) per minute of footage. Movie trailers cost extra, as does a DVD classification—even if the BBFC already classified the movie for theatrical release.

Because the price is based on a film’s run time, the more money Lyne raised, the longer his protest film could be. In the end, 686 backers offered up 5,936 pounds ($8,666.56) and the final film, Paint Drying, is 607 minutes long.

Still better than Ken Loach too.

13 thoughts on “Quite glorious!”

  1. If this was the 80s, I could see the point. I had to have a dodgy copy of Enter the Dragon because that dickhead Ferman had a stick up his ass about nunchuckas. But today? OK, technically they can do all this, but it’s been rendered irrelevant by the internet.

    Someone recently had a film banned by the BBFC: Hate Crime (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_Crime_(2012_film)). But, to all intents and purposes, that made no difference. A film like Hate Crime is not going to get shown in cinemas. It’s just too sick and low budget for that. And the day after it got banned, the director stuck it on a couple of streaming sites. You can buy it from amazon.com for $14. Customs won’t stop it as they have lower standards than the BBFC.

    While the law does exist, and is wrong, the net effect is that we’re really no different from the USA today.

  2. “Hate Crime”

    Needs a British re-make. Set in a vicarage obviously.

    But Nazi’s –even Neo ones, are old hat.

    I wonder what UK group could substitute for them?

    Also Mr Prank should have put subliminal cuts of porn images at strategic points throughout the film. To create a growing sense of unease in the BBFC hacks without them knowing why…

  3. Heh, fun.

    So about £900 to rate a 2 hour movie? Which in 80% of cases could be done by a minimum wager with a clipboard? Nice little job.

  4. The Inimitable Steve

    Eh. I think the BBFC are pretty sensible and benign – as far as government censors go.

    As The Stig says, technology has moved on. But so has the BBFC.

    You have to try very hard to get your film banned these days (sexualised depictions of children, glorifying terrorism, inciting racial hatred, etc.)

  5. “You have to try very hard to get your film banned these days (sexualised depictions of children, glorifying terrorism, inciting racial hatred, reporting the truth etc.)”

    Fixed it for you I S.

  6. The Inimitable Steve,

    On principle, I’d rather they had no legal powers, but spending money fighting something that’s trivial to work around? And yes, the BBFC have changed. Partly that’s down to how trivial it is to bypass the internet, but also about the public view of cinema content and fear of effects. There isn’t widespread fear of people watching something as strong as The Evil Dead or Reservoir Dogs, and few people have an appetite for something like A Serbian Film.

    And weirdly, you’re less like to find cuts and a film not being shown in the USA than here. The US cinema chains don’t like anything over an R rating, and as that’s 17 or over, unless accompanied by an adult, it means it’s more censored than an 18 here, which is no-one under 18. That’s not so much because of the extra year, but the consideration of people taking older children. So, a film like Basic Instinct or Team America was more heavily edited in US cinemas than it was here. For other films, where the filmmakers refused to edit, they got an NC-17 which a lot of cinemas won’t show.

  7. Philip Scott Thomas

    The best bit of this story wasn’t included in the linked article.

    The movie ran ten hours and seven minutes. But BBFC policy is that their staff don’t watch more than eight hours of film per day. So they had to spend a whole day watching paint dry, then come back the next day to watch another two hours and seven minutes.

  8. @Stig,

    That’s because in the US sex is evil nasty yuk disgusting revolting horrible stuff which makes Jesus cry, while gory killing is The American Way™.

  9. Bloke in Germany,

    I think America has different attitudes about sex as a public thing. You don’t get sex on TV and they don’t seem keen on it in cinemas. It may be that the whole thing of people taking their kids makes them uncomfortable.

    But porn is legal in the USA and has been for a very long time. When they were getting Deep Throat in cinemas, we had Confessions of a Window Cleaner. We really didn’t get legal hardcore porn until the late 1990s (barring a brief time at the end of Major’s term).

  10. “That’s because in the US sex is evil nasty yuk disgusting revolting horrible stuff which makes Jesus cry, while gory killing is The American Way™.”

    Bit of a brass neck there Biggie. Although a bunch of pervs your adopted buddies know a hell of a lot about gory killing. Leastways before they lost their balls out of a hole in their pocket.

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