'Black Swan' lesbian sex scene led to most viewer complaints


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The Independent Online

A lesbian sex scene helped make ballet thriller Black Swan the most complained-about film last year.

Movies including The Hangover – Part II, the Twilight film Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and Sucker Punch also outraged and offended viewers in 2011, according to the British Board of Film Classification.

The 15-rated Black Swan generated 40 complaints. The BBFC said that while that was high for the year, it was "proportionately very small indeed" for the 2.7 million people who saw it in cinemas.

The film was met with huge critical acclaim and secured star Natalie Portman the Oscar for best actress. The "standout issue" for most of the cinemagoers who complained, was a lesbian sex scene between Portman and co-star Mila Kunis.

While the scene was not particularly explicit – the BBFC described it as "visually discreet" – some correspondents "felt it was pornographic in nature".

David Cooke, director of the BBFC, said: "It is a fairly strong scene, but it's not anything like above the line. We felt Black Swan was in the boundary of a sex scene for a 15 rated film."

Viewers also complained about the crudity of the second Hangover movie, while some felt the emergency Caesarean section performed on the lead character in Twilight was "gory and distressing". The most complained about movie in the past decade, which was fuelled by a media campaign, was the second in director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy: The Dark Knight.

The BBFC does not expect similar levels of complaint for the third in the series, The Dark Knight Rises, which opens next week.

The classification board was involved in several high profile battles with film makers this year. Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) was initially refused theatrical release, but after the case threatened to end up in court, cuts were agreed between the body and the filmmakers.

The Bunny Game, however, was refused classification altogether. The board felt the story of a trucker torturing a prostitute crossed the line of glamorising sexual violence.