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Religious Watch


7th February

  Fifty shades of strong sex references...

The BBFC reduces the rating of Fifty Shades of Black from 18 to 15
Link Here
Poster Fifty Shades of Black 2016 Michael Tiddes Fifty Shades of Black is a 2016 USA comedy by Michael Tiddes.
Starring Marlon Wayans, Kali Hawk and Fred Willard. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

An inexperienced college student meets a wealthy businessman whose sexual practices put a strain on their relationship.

It was original passed 18 uncut for cinema for very strong sex references for:

The film distributors appealed to the BBFC for a reconsideration of a 15 rating. The BBFC agreed, commenting:

This work was originally classified 18 with cuts on 27/01/2016. This determination was formally reconsidered by the BBFC at the request of the submitting company. The BBFC carefully considered the arguments put forward by the submitting company, looked again at the relevant submitted material, and concluded that a revision to the original determination was appropriate.

The film is now passed 15 uncut for strong sex references.

 

7th February

 Updated: Antichrist Banned in France...

Religious censors get court to revoke 16 rating for Lars Von Trier's film. Then they turn their attention to The Hateful Eight
Link Here  full story: Extreme Cuts...Lars Von Trier sexual violence causes a stir
Antichrist DVD Willem Dafoe Antichrist is a 2009 Denmark/Germany/France/Sweden/Italy/Poland drama by Lars Von Trier.
With Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

The film was banned in France in February 2016

Promouvoir, an extremist Catholic pressure group initiated a court case some time ago claiming that the films local 16 rating was incorrect and that the film should be restricted to adults only. The moralists won the case and the court agreed that the film is unsuitable for under 18 and revoked the film's 16 certificate.

Until the film can be re-rated, it is banned from cinema and TV.

The BBFC explained some of the censorship issues when issuing an uncut 18 rating:

At '18', the BBFC's Guidelines state that the more explicit images of sexual activity are unlikely to be permitted unless they can be exceptionally justified by context and the work is not a 'sex work'. A 'sex work' is defined as a work whose 'primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation'. It is clear that ANTICHRIST is not a 'sex work' but a serious drama exploring issues such as grief, loss, guilt and fear.

The brief images of explicit real sex (sight of a penis penetrating a vagina during a consensual sex scene and sight of the man's penis being masturbated to climax) are exceptionally justified, in this context, by the manner in which they illustrate the film's themes and the nature of the couple's relationship. Their relationship is depicted throughout in a graphic and unflinching fashion, both psychologically and physically.

The BBFC has permitted comparable explicit images in a number of previous features at the '18' level (eg L'EMPIRE DES SENS, 9 SONGS, SHORTBUS and Lars von Trier's earlier film, THE IDIOTS) where it has been clear that the purpose of the work - and the individual images in question - is not simply to arouse viewers but to illustrate characters, relationships and themes.

Update: Hateful moralists

7th February 2016. See  article from news.yahoo.com

Hateful Eight DVD Samuel Jackson Buoyed by their success in getting the 16 age rating for Antichrist overturned, religious extremists at Promouvoir (Promote) are now setting their sights on Quentin Tarantino's 12 rated The Hateful Eight .

The Catholic group is now threatening to have Quentin Tarantino's new film pulled from cinemas. They claim that the film  had been granted its certificate illegally .

It also threatened to take action against the French teen film Bang Gang , one of the hits of this year's Toronto film festival.

The French 12 rating for Blue is the Warmest Colour was withdrawn in December 2016 over its extended lesbian scenes. This was the result of court case issued by the religious campaign group Promouvoir (Promote). Abdellatif Kechiche's film is currently banned from cinema and TV and as the film has not yet received a revised certificate.

 

 

7th February

  No Laughing Matter...

PC MP calls for a ban of the rugby anthem Delilah
Link Here
Delilah Tom Jones The Labour MP Chris Bryan is calling for the classic Tom Jones song Delilah to be banned from Six Nations rugby matches claiming that it glorifies domestic violence.  The politically correct claims the song is about killing a prostitute .

Bryant spouted:

I know that some people will say, 'Oh, here we go, he's a terrible spoilsport,' but the truth is that that song is about the murder of a prostitute. Chris

It is a simple fact that when there are big international rugby matches on, and sometimes football matches as well, the number of domestic violence incidents rises dramatically.

It goes right to the heart of the issues we are discussing. There are thousands of other songs we could sing.

I have sung 'Delilah' as well - everybody loves doing the 'She stood there laughing' moment- but if we are really going to take this issue seriously in Wales, we have to change how we do things.

The Sixties hit is an unofficial anthem at Cardiff matches, with male voice choirs and even Tom himself singing it before every game. The lyrics read:

I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window
I saw the flickering shadows of love on her blind
She was my woman
As she deceived me I watched and went out of my mind

My, my, my, Delilah
Why, why, why, Delilah

I could see that girl was no good for me
But I was lost like a slave that no man could free
At break of day when that man drove away, I was waiting
I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door
She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more

So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me Delilah I just couldn't take any more

 

7th February

 Update: Loopholes Within Loopholes Will Lead to Unbridled Surveillance...

A report on the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill
Link Here  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping

home affairs committee The House of Commons Science and Tech Committee has published its report on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, influenced by comments submitted by 50 individuals, companies, and organizations, including EFF. The report is the first of three investigations by different Parliamentary committees. While it was intended to concentrate on the technological and business ramifications of the bill, their conclusions reflect the key concern of lawmakers, companies, and human rights groups about the bill's dangerously vague wording.

The Investigatory Powers Bill, as written, is so vague as to permit a vast range of surveillance actions, with profoundly insufficient oversight or insight into what Britain's intelligence, military and police intend to do with their powers. It is, in effect, a carefully-crafted loophole wide enough to drive all of existing mass surveillance practice through. Or, in the words of Richard Clayton, Director of the Cambridge Cloud Cybercrime Centre at the University of Cambridge, in his submissions to the committee: the present bill forbids almost nothing ... and hides radical new capabilities behind pages of obscuring detail.

The bill is 192 pages long, excluding over 60 pages of explanatory notes. Our comments to the committee focused on just one aspect of the bill, what they call equipment interference. Despite our emphasis on just one small part of the bill, our analysis revealed multiple ambiguities and broad new powers that would allow the security and intelligence agencies, law enforcement and the armed forces, to target electronic equipment such as computers and smartphones in order to obtain data, including communications content. The bill also provides for the UK government to compel companies and individuals to comply with its surveillance demands, including those located outside Britain, and to bar companies from revealing that they were the subject of such demands. As the committee says in its conclusions, We believe the industry case regarding public fear about 'equipment interference' is well founded.

The bill also includes a new mandate for data retention whose breadth is similarly ambiguous. Terms like internet connection records, telecommunications service, relevant communications data, communications content, technical feasibility, and reasonable practicable were all criticized in the report for their vague and overbroad use. The government's excuse is that it wants to create a future-proof bill, but loose language is bad for businesses trying to understand what obligations they are under. And it's certainly bad for civil liberties when governments exploit those ambiguities to obtain or hold onto new powers.

The details of these definitions and safeguards surrounding them should not be punted into secondary legislation. As the committee notes, a disturbing degree of detail about the Investigatory Powers Bill is deferred to future Codes of Practice. We've been down this road before in the UK. IPB's predecessor, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000) also placed its devilish details into future statutory instruments, which were often slipped past Parliamentarians with little warning or debate. The result was years of expansion of RIPA powers, to the point where powers originally intended for the intelligence services were delegated to over four hundred public bodies. Even the head of MI5 , Lady Manningham-Buller, who lobbied for the RIPA powers, was shocked by the eventual overreach:

I can remember being astonished to read that organizations such as the Milk Marketing Board, and whatever the equivalent is for eggs, would have access to some of the techniques. On the principle governing the use of intrusive techniques which invade people's privacy, there should be clarity in the law as to what is permitted and they should be used only in cases where the threat justified them and their use was proportionate.

This is why, as the committee says, it is essential that this timetable does not slip and that the Codes of Practice are indeed published alongside the Bill so they can be fully scrutinized and debated.

We would go further: EFF believes that a productive discussion around the Investigatory Powers Bill can only begin once all the cards are on the table. The UK government needs to answer all the questions raised by the committee, including those currently postponed to Codes of Practice, and embed those answers in a revised bill, which can then be more seriously considered, or it's destined for a future of abuse followed by dismantlement in the courts.

The series of successful challenges in the UK and EU against previous surveillance law and practice shows that vague and unbounded language cannot survive a serious challenge in the courts. If the UK government wants its surveillance rules to stand the test of time, it needs to build them on a firm foundation of clarity, necessity, and proportionality.

 

7th February

  No rights to know the rules about rights issues...

Video producers complain about the draconian and arbitrary censorship by YouTube
Link Here
project awesome video

Youtube's DMCA system troubles hit a prominent group of video creators:

YouTube: What The Hell YouTube? Part 1

They got it fixed after waiting 3 weeks but only after making a video complaining about the problems. The official routes for complaint didn't work at all, and they still don't understand why:

YouTube: What The Hell YouTube? Part 2

 

7th February

 Offsite Article: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...

Link Here
Poster Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 2016 Burr Steers Film makers discuss why they chose to make it for a child friendly PG-13 rating

See article from cinemablend.com

 

5th February

  The Boy and the Beast...

Strong language cut an MPAA PG-13 rating
Link Here
Poster Bakemono No Ko 2015 Mamoru Hosoda The Boy and the Beast is a 2015 Japan action animation fantasy by Mamoru Hosoda.
Starring Bryn Apprill, Kumiko Asô and Morgan Berry. Youtube link IMDb

Strong language has been cut differently for the dubbed and subtitled versions for US release.

US: The dubbed version is MPAA PG-13 rated for some violence.

US: The sub-titled version was PG-13 rated for some violence and language.

The MPAA noted:

EDITED VERSION. CONTENT IS DIFFERENT FROM PG-13 RATED DUBBED VERSION, BULLETIN NO. 2410 (2/3/16).

Summary Notes

The latest feature film from award-winning Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children): When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts, he's taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff, rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who's been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son. But when a deep darkness threatens to throw the human and beast worlds into chaos, the strong bond between this unlikely family will be put to ultimate test-a final showdown that will only be won if the two can finally work together using all of their combined strength and courage.

 

5th February

 Extract: Comment is no longer free...

The Guardian notes that public opinion has turned against immigration and islam and the newspaper will end online comments for related articles so as to avoid toxic comment
Link Here

comment is free logo The Guardian/Observer. has very recently announced that it will be heavily restricting comment on articles dealing with three sensitive subjects -- race, immigration and Islam, on the grounds that there has been a change in mainstream public opinion and language that we do not wish to see reflected or supported on the site and those subjects in particular attract too much toxic comment.

Most pieces on those themes will not now not be open for comment. Occasional selected pieces will be open, but for a shorter period than the usual three days, and only when it is judged that enough moderation resources can be deployed there and that it is possible to have a constructive discussion on them, whatever that means.

See full article from hurryupharry.org

 

2nd February

 Updated: Bar Talk...

Deadpool film makers speak of a bar scene that was too 'offensive' for an R rating
Link Here
deadpool jan Deadpool is a 2016 Canada / USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Tim Miller.
Starring Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano and Ryan Reynolds. Youtube link IMDb

Uncut and R rated in the US. Banned in China

Deadpool has been rated R by the US film censors at the MPAA. Now there is little hype suggesting that the once scene in the film had to be toned down to achieve that R rating.

The director Time Miller recently held a Q&A session at a Los Angeles fan event where he offered some details on some of the things they had to cut. One particular fight has an extended version with a couple more beats of violence that I liked, but the biggest scene they had to pare down was a bar scene. he explained:

In particular, there was a bar scene that was too vulgar for even the R-rated Deadpool . That bar scene was particularly mean and offensive to a lot of people because T.J. [Miller] and Ryan [Reynolds] got together and wrote a version of the scene that we just said, 'Oh my God, this is too far.' I mean there were so many people offended, it would have really been - we couldn't do it. It was just mean and so I said, 'No. We don't have to do that.'

The director added that fans shouldn't expect the full version of this scene to show up on the impending Blu-ray and DVD release. T.J. Miller added that they did get carried away with this offensive stretch of dialogue and said:

We did kind of go back and forth and it just got more and more hateful. Ryan's a very, very good improvisor, and he's very funny and, like, one of the sweetest guys. It was very... heavy duty. There were some riffs that I don't think - 'You look like a trucker took a shit on your shoulders and then shaped ears onto it.' So it's like, we're missing some of those things.

Update: 15 rated by the BBFC

2nd February 2016. See article from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC has just passed Deadpool 15 uncut for strong bloody violence, strong language, sex references for UK cinema release.

Deadpool is released in UK Cinemas 10 February.

Update: Director's Cut

2nd February 2016. See  article from morningnewsusa.com

Director T.J. Miller revealed that there would be a Deadpool director's cut to be released this year, which would even be more raw than what fans will see onscreen in the current US R rated/UK 15 rated theatrical version. Miller commented:

[The Director's Cut's] going to be even more raw, that's pretty heavy duty.

 

1st February

 Update: Ratings you can't trust...

World Health Organisation calls for stupid ratings for movies to support its pet anti-smoking campaign
Link Here  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films
who logo The World Health Organisation (WHO) has ludicrously called for films showing smoking to be given an adult rating.

Movies showing use of tobacco products have enticed millions of young people worldwide to start smoking , the WHO claimed in a statement.  Dr Douglas Bettcher, WHO's director for the department of prevention of non-communicable diseases, added:

With ever tighter restrictions on tobacco advertising, film remains one of the last channels exposing millions of adolescents to smoking imagery without restrictions. Smoking in films can be a strong form of promotion for tobacco products.

Of course WHO is unconcerned by the effects of film censors being forced to award blatantly stupid ratings and the effect that this would have on parents' trust and support of movie ratings.

 

1st February

 Update: The Censorship Line...

Thailand to ask facebook to censor content the government doesn't like
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking
Thailand flag Thailand's military dictators are moving to heighten its online censorship by persuading social media networks Facebook and Line to comply with court orders to remove content ithe government doesn't like.

The junta-appointed National Steering Reform Assembly (NSRA) will meet executives in the coming three months, council member Major General Pisit Paoin told Reuters.

A similar request was made last month to Google over content on YouTube.  .

 

31st January

 Update: Rajan Zed Recommends...

Hymn for the Weekend by Coldplay
Link Here  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
coldplay hymn ofr the weekeend video Rajan Zed has criticized Coldplay's music-video featuring Beyoncé titled Hymn For The Weekend , claiming it trivializes Hinduism.

Zed aid that this party-anthem/club-song music-video unnecessarily dragged sacred Hindu concepts and symbols with no linkage to the lyrics/storyline. He wrote:

What was the connection of--depicting one person dressed as Lord Shiva holding a trishul and sitting on the pavement; three persons dressed as Hanumans and standing with gadas leaning against their shoulders; two saffron-clad sadhus (with one on the ground and another high on a bamboo stick holding a mala) sitting on the roadside, as if meditating, with incense burning in front of them--with the lyrics in the video like drink from me ?

Rajan Zed pointed out that Hindus understood that the purpose of Coldplay-Beyoncé in this case apparently was not to denigrate Hinduism, but casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees.

Zed said that Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more . BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it were disturbing for the followers.