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Letter : Nothing bad about violence

From Mr Alexander Walker

Sir: Michael Winner has a point (Another View: "Witty film, nutty editorial", 22 February). It is extending censorship and encouraging a limitation on freedom of expression to propose that "films depicting horrible aspects of life are so unsavoury as to be unnecessary."

May I extend the point to include the "encouragement'' being given to censorship by the inclusion of the film censor's office among the list of organisers for Lord Attenborough's "Centenary of the Cinema" year, which we in Britain are preparing to celebrate in 1996 (although the rest of the world has chosen 1995 as its memorial date)?

Why should an event meant to celebrate freedom of expression include representatives of those who work daily to restrict or suppress that freedom? The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) still refuses to certificate a growing list of films for video or cinema release: Reservoir Dogs is "banned" for video; so is the 22-year-old film The Exorcist. The Good Son, a recent film about a homicidally inclined, "bad seed" child had its cinema certificate delayed for over a year; Natural Born Killers was likewise left in limbo for months while the BBFC went through the motions of guessing whether crimes committed in other countries had any bearing on the film's alleged influence, a determination that would tax even national police forces.

I do not know why Lord Attenborough invited the BBFC to join his committee, but I, for one, will not be cooperating with the centenary committee so long as it contains a representative of film censorship. I hope Mr Winner and myself will not be the only two to do so.

Yours sincerely,


London, W9