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“Strong language in a speech therapy context”

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Thu 6 Jan 2011

Some years ago in this introduction I was talking about Film Certification, and more specifically about the additional info (Consumer Advice) the BBFC often offer beyond the cert itself. ‘Contains mild peril’ was a favourite I recall. So, back on a similar subject, I’ve been reading recently that
ex-Miramax movie mogul Harvey Weinstein appealed the ratings given to two of his films by the US’s ‘BBFC’, the MPAA: The King’s Speech
(R - under 17s must be accompanied) and Blue Valentine (NC-17 – over 17s only) for bad language and sexual content respectively. Well, he won in the case of the latter, but not in the former. So mixed fortunes admittedly for Have-a-Go Harve, but, most commentators seem to agree, some excellent media coverage for his films. Luckily for all you youngsters out there, common sense has prevailed with regard to The King’s Speech here in the UK. It had originally been given a ‘15’ certificate for the aforementioned bad language, but on appeal by the film’s distributor it was reduced to a ‘12A’ by sensibly applying the rules of context (in this case, speech therapy – The King has a stammer) to bad language in the same way as they do violence and sexual content. Less sensibly, in America, apparently it’s worse for their youth to see “intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material” (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – PG-13) than hear “some language” (The King’s Speech – R). Go figure!
Staying on The King’s Speech, sit back and watch this brilliant film figure hugely in the upcoming awards season. Our Colin would certainly get my vote, if I had one. It’s funny, clever, superbly written, brilliantly performed across the board, hugely entertaining and intensely moving. Don’t dare miss it, young and old alike! (Thanks BBFC!) Alejandro González Iñárritu returns to Spanish-language filmmaking (after 21 Grams and Babel), directing the wonderful Javier Bardem in the grimly magnificent, Barcelona-set Biutiful. Scotland’s very own Peter Mullan makes a brilliant return to directing (after Orphans and The Magdalene Sisters) with Neds, his blistering, “personal but not autobiographical” portrait of a teenage boy’s coming of age in 1970s Glasgow. So exciting to see a Scot, working in Scotland, at this level...
Two from Mexico: Leap Year, a sexually frank study of one woman’s urban alienation, won the Camera d’Or (prize for best first film) at Cannes in 2010; and Abel is the accomplished directorial debut of actor Diego Luna and tells the story of a young boy with a very distinct set of behavioural problems. Diego himself will take part in a Q&A after the 6:15pm screening of his film on 9 January. [Be still, my beating heart! -Ed.]
The great films of Howard Hawks form our small-ish (he did make nearly 50 films!) but perfectly-formed retrospective of his work, to follow on from a week of screenings of his re-released masterpiece, The Big Sleep.
And may I take this opportunity to thank you all for being such smashing folks to put on films for in 2010 – I look forward to sharing our enthusiasm for great cinema with you throughout 2011!
Rod White, Head of Programming

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