UK audiences to get uncut ‘Antichrist’ next month

Posted by · 4:41 am · June 13th, 2009

Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe in AntichristIFC has yet to reveal when it plans to unleash Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist” upon American audiences, but it looks like me and my fellow Brits will get to lay eyes on it first. UK distributor Artificial Eye has announced a July 24 release date for the polarizing Cannes sensation, which has been approved, in its uncut form, by the British censors.

The British Board of Film Classification decreed that the film — which, in case you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks, features rough sex, gore and graphic scenes of genital mutilation — may be offensive to some viewers, but that its explicitness is artistically motivated:

(BBFC director David) Cooke and company shied away from cuts, saying that the censor’s lack of intervention “reflects the principle — strongly endorsed in a number of public consultations — that adults should be free to decide for themselves what to watch or what not to watch, provided it is neither illegal nor harmful.”

The BBFC Guidelines for “18”-rated works state that the more explicit images of sexual activity will not be allowed unless they can be exceptionally justified by context and that the product is not a “sex work” whose primary purpose is sexual arousal. Said the BBFC, “For these purposes, ‘Antichrist’ is very clearly not a ‘sex work.’ “

Bravo. It should be explained that a UK “18” certificate (which restricts anyone under that age from seeing the film) carries nothing like the stigma that the NC-17 label does in the States. (The stronger “R18” rating, which used to apply to any film featuring unsimulated sex, is now reserved for titles shown or distributed in porn outlets.)

Unlike the U.S. “R” rating, the higher British age restrictions (15 and 18) make no allowances for accompanied minors. As such, “Antichrist” shares its classification with any number of mainstream Hollywood efforts, such as “The Departed” or “Taken.” UK censorship is an eccentric but level playing field.

Anyway, roll on July 24. Finally, a summer movie I can really look forward to.

→ 11 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

11 responses so far

  • 1 6-13-2009 at 10:13 am

    MattyD. said...

    God, I am SO JEALOUS of you guys in the UK!

    This is by far my most anticipated film, along with “(500) Days of Summer”. A weird combo, I know, but I can’t wait for “Antichrist”! I know that us Americans will most likely not be as lucky censorship-wise.

  • 2 6-13-2009 at 11:48 am

    Speaking English said...

    Oh, great, you get to lay eyes on this reprehensible piece of sadomasochism before I do. Whoopee.

    I have absolutely no desire to see this.

  • 3 6-13-2009 at 12:23 pm

    Patryk said...

    Hope IFC in NY follows soon. Too bad Americans are so concerned with what everyone else can see. I am looking forward to seeing it…uncut.

  • 4 6-13-2009 at 12:44 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    MattyD: Apparently IFC plans to release it uncensored in some areas (I assume Ny and LA), and then cut it slightly for Video-on-Demand. Which makes no sense whatsoever to me.

    Speaking English: If you never see it, how do you plan to back up your blindly predetermined judgment of the film? Come on.

  • 5 6-13-2009 at 3:00 pm

    Slayton said...

    In NZ there are G, PG, M (all ages welcome) and R13, R16 and R18 tags. There used to be PG13, R15 and R, but those tags are obsolete now. The R18 tag holds really no stigma whatsoever, and many R18 films get just as much business, if not more, as films with an M rating. I think this system works far better than the American system, and it gives more room to different films with different degrees of potentially offensive content. I have no doubt in my mind that Antichrist will be R18. The Departed was R16 and I haven’t been living in the country this year so I don’t know what Taken is.

  • 6 6-13-2009 at 3:34 pm

    rosengje said...

    Guy, I was under the impression that it was the other way around. They would do some light cutting to get it into theaters and make the uncut version available via OnDemand. Doesn’t that make more sense?

  • 7 6-13-2009 at 4:21 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Because I’ve seen Von Trier’s films, and I find him little more than a self-indulgent, egomaniacal sadist who gets off on making grisly, pretentious movies we have to endure to realize his self-proclaimed “genius.” I rather not have to sit through his newest romp, dead babies, testicle crushing and all.

    Enjoy it, though. I’m sure you will.

  • 8 6-13-2009 at 4:58 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Rosengje: Indeed, that would make more sense. I’m just going on what Anne Thompson reported a while back, baffling as it sounds. I do remember IFC promising some kind of uncut theatrical release, though.

    English: I’m not sure “enjoy” is the word!

  • 9 6-13-2009 at 5:37 pm

    Simone said...

    If ‘Antichrist’ ever comes to US shores, it will be chopped to hell. I envy my beloved Brits, the BBFC treats you lot like ADULTS. Imagine that.

  • 10 6-13-2009 at 8:57 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    I see no reason why IFC would not release this film unrated as they did Von Trier’s Manderlay.

  • 11 6-14-2009 at 9:03 am

    Steen said...

    Here in Denmark, where I saw the uncut “Antichrist” a couple of weeks back, it got an “Allowed for children over 15″… which is as strict as it gets here.

    So far it is, hands down, the 2009-movie that has left the biggest impression on me. Violent masterpiece.