Tracey Emin: the suicide scene in my film is so bad it's good for teenagers

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The Independent Online

Tracey Emin has claimed that contentious scenes in her new movie, which led to a row with censors, are so grim that they would put people off suicide rather than encourage it.

Tracey Emin has claimed that contentious scenes in her new movie, which led to a row with censors, are so grim that they would put people off suicide rather than encourage it.

The artist this week announced that she was withdrawing her debut movie, Top Spot, from cinematic release, in protest at the cuts she would have to make for it to be screened to 15- to 18-year-olds - her intended audience.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) had been concerned about scenes in which it was possible to see the most effective way to slit your wrists, which ran counter to its rules about allowing "imitable techniques" to be seen. It gave the film an 18 certificate and suggested cuts that would allow a lower rating, but Emin rejected these.

The scene in question featured a young girl who was lying dead in the bath with the wounds on her arms clearly visible.

Emin told The Independent on Sunday yesterday: "It is really not very glamorous - it's so unglamorous that I think that any girl thinking of it might change their mind about suicide.

"They wanted to cut 15 seconds and it would mean you would effectively lose the whole scene.

"You don't see her committing suicide - you just see her after she's dead, but just look at all the films where you actually see someone committing suicide. I'm not showing people how to do it, that's not what I'm saying. I do this to get people to think about the things they come across."

The film - set in Emin's home town of Margate in Kent, and looking at the lives of teenage girls - will be screened on BBC3 on 18 December, and the station's controller, Stuart Murphy, has confirmed that the controversial scenes will be screened.

He said: "I've watched it and the whole piece is in the spirit of Tracey's work. The scene won't be screened until 11.30pm. We've been very sensitive to make sure it is not gratuitous."

Hamish McAlpine, who owns the film's distributor, Tartan Films, said: "Anyone under 18 that wants to watch it can set their video recorder. People have been slashing their wrists in the bath since the days of the Greeks and Romans. This is taking the imitable techniques argument to absurdity." He added that he planned to release the film on video and DVD next year, with the 18 rating.

A spokeswoman for the BBFC said: "There is an imitable technique that is not suitable for 15-rated films."

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