Love of violence worries censor

BRITAIN'S FORMER chief film censor warned yesterday that the thirst for violence among young audiences may herald a new era of brutality.

In his final report for the British Board of Film Classification, James Ferman warned that future censors may no longer be able to "hold the line" when so many young film lovers are taking the view that "violence is cool". Writing in the board's annual report, Mr Ferman said: "Too often in my view [violence] functions like a drug, like the pounding beat of rock music which keeps the serotonin levels up. I worry that violence has so little meaning, that younger cinema-goers take the view that `violence is cool', a view which seems to me to be simply an excuse for not empathising with the victims."

After 24 years as board director, Mr Ferman said he would not be sorry to say goodbye "to the callousness of contemporary films and videos" or to porn, which he said he had seen "more than enough of". But his years were a period when film censorship became increasingly less heavy-handed. He was often the subject of attacks by right-wing commentators, who blamed him for what they saw as a growing tide of sex and violence on film.

His final year, 1998, saw the percentage of films subjected to cuts fall to the lowest level on record at just 3.6 per cent. In 1974, censors ordered cuts to 40 per cent of all films. Mr Ferman, who retired in January, claimed in his report: "Having suffered my own share of heavy-handed censorship as a TV director, I am proud to have transformed the BBFC from a board of censors to a board of classification."

The 14 films that were subjected to cuts last year included Lethal Weapon 4, from which scenes including blood-letting, neck breaks, head butts, garottings, eye-gougings and the noisy breaking of bones were censored from five of the seven reels. The latest in the 3 Ninjas series of children's films was also subjected to heavy cuts because of what the board described as "risks of copycat violence" in martial arts sequences. The board said it was "surprised" to have to demand a cut to the Walt Disney cartoon Mulan after the inclusion of a "vicious head-butt" scene.

The board said that it had been a year of "surprisingly little controversy". Concerns raised over films with taboo themes had faded away as the content became apparent - for example paedophilia in Lolita was handled with "discretion".

The board president, Andreas Whittam Smith, and the new director, Robin Duval, both paid tribute to Mr Ferman as the "doyen of regulators".

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Voices
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
News
people
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
News
people... and stop them from attacking people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?