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  #111  
Old 4th June 2010, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Gojirosan View Post
I think such footage should be included but clear warnings - perhaps even a new certificate.
Yes, I'd like to see the BBFC include animal abuse (simulated or otherwise) outlined in its consumer advice. If the advice clearly says: "Contains strong violence, language and simulated animal abuse" or : "Contains strong violence, language and unsimulated animal abuse", prospective viewers can make up their own minds. Forewarned is forearmed!

However, I could only ever agree to images of unsimulated animal abuse where it wasn't staged by filmmakers for the purposes of 'entertainment'.

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Originally Posted by Gojirosan View Post
Censorship is as creeping and insidious as animal cruelty.
Couldn't agree more. Which is why you'll only ever hear me arguing the merits of censorship on this particular issue. Everything else is fair game, and people should be allowed to see what they want to see, within the law of the land. And if the law is too restrictive, it ought to be amended.
  #112  
Old 4th June 2010, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Libretio View Post
. Censoring the horses-over-cliff shot in THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES (1957), for example, may not remove the cruelty that was inflicted on the horses, but it says to modern filmmakers: "If you do this, we will intervene, so don't waste your time and money. It is morally and legally WRONG."

.
This is moot as treatment of animals in this way was outlawed decades ago in most countries .

Certainly in Italy and the US such scenes would be illegal so cutting them now is pointless.
  #113  
Old 5th June 2010, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Libretio View Post
Calum makes the valid point that censorship of such material - no matter how old - sends a message to filmmakers that such behaviour is unacceptable in a civilised society.
But is censorship the mark of a civilised society? Or is a civilised society one that looks at such material and says as a whole - 'This is wrong.'

As far as I'm concerned, censorship white-washes history and leaves these filmmakers with no sense of responsibility. This IS how films were once made - censoring it is to absolve the filmmakers of their guilt and achieves nothing.

So what do we do? Shouldn't a non-dictatorial society say 'We can see this and not be affected.' Or are we saying images like this cause recurrent behaviour of a similar nature?
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  #114  
Old 5th June 2010, 11:32 AM
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Using that rationale, one could argue that Germany has censored its entire history from 1933 to 1945, such are the penalties for displaying a swastika or denying the Holocaust. The Nazi party and the Second World War are just not talked about in Germany and they find it amazing that is taught in schools, colleges and universities over here.

It's one thing pretending that something didn't exist and another to show it to an 'intelligent' audience with the right warnings and consumer information. It is in this sense that I agree that there is little point in removing scenes of animal cruelty from films made 50 years ago but, just as there are warnings for sex, violence and obscene language, they should maybe be a warning preceded the film to say that it includes "scenes involving animals which some viewers may find distressing".
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  #115  
Old 5th June 2010, 12:32 PM
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Using that rationale, one could argue that Germany has censored its entire history from 1933 to 1945, such are the penalties for displaying a swastika or denying the Holocaust. The Nazi party and the Second World War are just not talked about in Germany and they find it amazing that is taught in schools, colleges and universities over here.

It's one thing pretending that something didn't exist and another to show it to an 'intelligent' audience with the right warnings and consumer information. It is in this sense that I agree that there is little point in removing scenes of animal cruelty from films made 50 years ago but, just as there are warnings for sex, violence and obscene language, they should maybe be a warning preceded the film to say that it includes "scenes involving animals which some viewers may find distressing".
Grindhouse put a warning like that preceding Cannibal Holocaust.

I wouldn't say that Germany has censored its entire history - because in this instance everyone is aware of what happened, it's not like they're trying to hide what they did or that its being covered up or anything.

No right-minded person thinks that killing an animal for entertainment is a good or acceptable thing. However, I just can't see what cutting old films achieves, except to make them more palatable for people who object to it. Sorry, but that's what the filmmaker filmed and those were the methods employed. It might be morally wrong, but it IS part of cinema's history. Why try and rewrite history? Personally, I think these works should be seen as intended, even if it is distasteful at times, if for no other reason than to show what horrid tactics were once used.

As for it sending a message to other filmmakers - no it doesn't. How can it if the scene(s) in question are removed - who's to know it was ever there?
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  #116  
Old 5th June 2010, 12:47 PM
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Cutting animal cruelty doesn't negate history, it simply removes the visual representation of what is now considered an immoral and illegal act. Once a film crosses the line into offering the unsimulated abuse and killing of a living creature, no matter how long ago it was filmed, it becomes an offense against all that's supposed to be decent and humane about civilised society.

Retaining that material with appropriate warnings sounds reasonable at first glance, but what that means in practice is that the animal has not only been abused and killed for the sake of 'entertainment', but that it's final moments will be exhibited for all eternity just so we can feel appropriately guilty about it.

We can still feel ashamed of what these filmmakers have done without parading an animal's death in front of paying audiences. You could get exactly the same effect by removing this material and explaining up-front (on ad-mats, video packaging and the BBFC website) what has been cut and why. This way, historical accuracy is maintained whilst the animal in question is afforded some of the dignity it was denied at the end of its life.
  #117  
Old 5th June 2010, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Daemonia View Post
As for it sending a message to other filmmakers - no it doesn't. How can it if the scene(s) in question are removed - who's to know it was ever there?
Trust me, filmmakers and distributors are more than aware of the BBFC's stance on this matter, and the Board's website provides ample evidence of the cuts they've applied to films over the years, primarily for reasons of animal abuse and potentially 'obscene' material within the R18 category.
  #118  
Old 5th June 2010, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Libretio View Post
Retaining that material with appropriate warnings sounds reasonable at first glance, but what that means in practice is that the animal has not only been abused and killed for the sake of 'entertainment', but that it's final moments will be exhibited for all eternity just so we can feel appropriately guilty about it.
Why would I feel guilt? I didn't harm the animal, so why should I feel ashamed? I don't buy films for the sole purpose of seeing animal cruelty - but if it's there, then there's not a lot anyone can do about that, except censor it.

I still think cutting horsefalls and cats eating mice is a pointless exercise. For the more extreme instances of cruelty, I can understand it. That's why I think the BBFC should have a scale of seriousness. After all, not all animal cruelty is obvious - what about grazing horses suddenly being forced to become workhorses, pulling wagons etc? I don't see anyone up in arms about that, but it's equally as cruel to the animal.

The point becomes even more absurd when they can pass Oldboy which features an unsimulated sequence of a man eating a live squid. That's right, he chews through this creature while it's alive, and obviously in incredible pain. But that's okay, say the BBFC. But not a cat eating a mouse.
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  #119  
Old 5th June 2010, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Daemonia View Post
Why would I feel guilt? I didn't harm the animal, so why should I feel ashamed?
As far as 'guilt' was concerned, I was speaking in general terms. But in an earlier post, you said:

As far as I'm concerned, censorship white-washes history and leaves these filmmakers with no sense of responsibility. This IS how films were once made - censoring it is to absolve the filmmakers of their guilt and achieves nothing.

As long as we know the material was once there, and that it has been removed, we don't need to retain images of animals suffering needlessly just to maintain the guilt of those responsible. It isn't necessary to see it, so long as we're informed of its removal. Doesn't that scenario maintain the historical record, without adding to the animals' indignity by putting its death throes on public display for the rest of eternity?

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Originally Posted by Daemonia View Post
For the more extreme instances of cruelty, I can understand it. That's why I think the BBFC should have a scale of seriousness.
The scale of abuse can't be quantified by how much suffering has been endured. Either the animal suffers for the sake of 'entertainment' or it doesn't. Whether it's kicked or tripped or slowly dissected alive for the benefit of a spurious 'dramatic effect' - ANY such behaviour is inhumane and cannot be justified. And that includes deliberate horse-trips which can cause massive damage to otherwise healthy animals.

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Originally Posted by Daemonia View Post
The point becomes even more absurd when they can pass Oldboy which features an unsimulated sequence of a man eating a live squid. That's right, he chews through this creature while it's alive, and obviously in incredible pain. But that's okay, say the BBFC. But not a cat eating a mouse.
One of the excuses I've heard for this scene (and it IS an excuse, not a justification) is that the eating of live octopus is frequently indulged in Korean restaurants and is viewed as a delicacy. If that's true, then I'm speechless. But the same kind of treatment is doled out to lobsters on a regular basis in UK restaurants, so we can't claim the moral high ground.

I don't dispute the lack of consistency applied by the BBFC, and your point about OLDBOY is very well taken.
  #120  
Old 5th June 2010, 02:28 PM
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By the way, I'm told the octopus scene in OLDBOY was filmed three times, twice with dead creatures, and once with a live animal. The actor didn't feel the 'dead' versions were effective enough, so he opted to try his luck with the live version. It was the 'live' take that was used in the finished film.

Nice.

Not.
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