Four Lions

Chris Morris satire re religious extremists

31st March

Update: Four Lions at the BBFC...

BBFC comment on classifying material that may offend the easily offended

Chris Morris's 2010 UK terrorist comedy was passed 15 uncut by the BBFC with the consumer advise: Contains strong language and sex references.

The BBFC explain their decision as follows:

Four Lions is a satirical comedy about British Muslims who aspire to be suicide bombers. It has been passed 15 for strong language and sex references.

There are over fifty uses of strong language, mostly in English but several in untranslated Urdu, which go beyond what is acceptable under the BBFC's Guidelines at 12A/12 where The use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent . In terms of sex references, strong verbal references to sexual behaviour are permitted at 15 and the verbal descriptions of sex in this work fell short of containing the strongest references which might have placed it at 18 instead.

The theme is treated in a manner designed to satirise, rather than to promote or endorse, terrorist activity and is therefore appropriately contained at 15 where No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds . Few of the range of individuals and groups portrayed in the film escape its comic and satirical scope: this may give rise to offence in some quarters, but this would not have been mitigated by artificially raising the category to 18.

Four Lions also contains moderate comic violence, and self referential uses of Paki which in this comic context are not endorsed.


6th May

Update: Trigger Hair Sensitivity...

Supporting the hype for Four Lions

Families who lost relatives in the 2005 London bomb attacks are appealing to cinemas not to show a British comedy about four aspiring suicide bombers.

Four Lions was created by satirist Chris Morris, who was also behind the controversial Channel 4 show Brass Eye. The film - on general release from Friday - focuses on four men travelling to London to target the marathon.

Grahame Russell, whose son was among the 52 killed on 7 July 2005, accused its makers of being morally bankrupt.

Graham Foulkes, who also lost his son in the bombings, said he and other relatives were appealing to cinemas not to show the British-funded film. He acknowledged that humour had a part when it came to examining serious issues but said for his family, and others like them, the tragedy was still too raw.

Chris Morris has described the film as showing the Dad's Army side to terrorism , as four incompetent jihadists plan an attack. A film like this is obviously a very strong counterpoint to the very serious side of it, which none of us condone.

In January when the film was premiered, Arsher Ali, who plays one of the would-be terrorists, told the BBC the film was first and foremost, a comedy: It's a dynamic of a bunch of guys who get together and mess everything up. Terrorism is in the news almost every day, but there are little stories within those things that are inherently comic and inherently human. A film like this is obviously a very strong counterpoint to the very serious side of it, which none of us condone, but there are human stories that need to be told, which can be quite touching.


29th August

Update: The Daily Mail Recommends...

Channel 4 to show Four Lions around the time of the 9/11 tenth anniversary

The Daily Mail has such a way with words:

Channel 4 is to spark 'outrage' by airing a controversial comedy film about Muslim suicide bombers as part a season of programmes to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

In a move set to 'shock' TV viewers, the broadcaster is to show Four Lions , the 2010 film by Brass Eye comedian Chris Morris, just days before the memorials take place for the terrorist outrages in New York.

Insiders at the Channel 4 have revealed that Morris was looking to create even more controversy by trying to air the film on the actual day of the anniversary, but bosses at the channel have resisted this.

Four Lions is a comedy depicting the activities of a group of home-grown and incompetent British terrorists who plan to kill thousands of people at the London Marathon in a terror attacks, but end up bungling the operation.

Channel 4 will premiere the film alongside factual documentaries about heroes from the emergency services and a reconstruction documentary about the killing of Osama Bin Laden for the season of programmes.


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