- R18 certificate
The R18 certificate represents a film or video classification given by the
British Board of Film Classification(BBFC). It is intended to provide a classification for works that are within British obscenity laws, but exceed what the BBFC considers acceptable for its 18 certificate. In practice, this means hardcore pornography.
Under the terms of the 1984 Video Recordings Act all non-exempt videos sold or distributed within the UK must be given a certificate by the BBFC. The distibutor must decide whether a video is exempt. [ [http://www.bbfc.co.uk/faq/index.php BBFC FAQ - What does the 'E' symbol mean, and it is an official category?] ] Uncertificated recordings are not illegal, regardless of content (except where the content is actually illegal itself), but supply (i.e. sale, rental, loan or gift) of them is. The R18 certificate is the most restrictive of the certificates, and videos given this certificate may only be shown in licensed cinemas, [ [http://www.bbfc.co.uk/classification/c_R18.php bbfc - the official website of the bbfc. classification for entertainment, movies and video games ] ] or sold direct to the buyer in person in licensed
sex shops, and not by mail orderor other remote means such as by telephoneor over the Internet. [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmcumeds/509/6110706.htm] Hansard, paragraph 25."] According to the BBFC there are currently around 250 such licensed shops. [ [http://www.bbfc.co.uk/downloads/pub/Policy%20and%20Research/Knowing%20it%20when%20you%20see%20it:%20The%20difference%20between%2018%20and%20R18%20video%20works.pdf Knowing it when you see it: ] ]
The BBFC specifies in detail what kinds of acts are permitted to be depicted in works receiving an R18 certificate, and which are not. In particular, it prohibits the depiction of acts which are illegal, degrading, violent or non-consensual. However, apart from these restrictions, it allows the depiction of most sex acts, including vaginal
sexual intercourse, oral sex, masturbation, and anal sex, between any combination of men and women. It also has recently allowed the depiction of visibly consensual sexual bondage and very mild BDSMactivities.Fact|date=July 2008
History of the R18 certificate
The R18 classification was created in 1982 in response to the recommendatations in 1979 of the Home Office Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship chaired by Sir
Bernard Williams. Originally it was only used for films featuring simulated sex only, but the BBFC found itself forced to award R18 certificates to hardcore films in 2000 after a series of legal appeals and a judicial reviewof those appeals.
The introduction of the R18 certificate for hardcore films is widely seen by observers as a reaction to more liberal attitudes in British society to pornography, the "de facto" legalisation of the import of hardcore pornography (but not its sale) across the EU because of customs law harmonisation, and the widespread availability of unregulated pornography over the Internet.
The BBFC has previously granted 18 certificates for movies containing short scenes of unsimulated sex, such as
Catherine Breillat's "Romance" (in 1999), Virginie Despentes's " Baise Moi" (in 2000) and Patrice Chereau's "Intimacy" (in 2001).
In October 2004, the BBFC granted an 18 certificate for
Michael Winterbottom's movie " 9 Songs", which features a number of explicit scenes of unsimulated sex. However, the DVD extras for this film were given an R18 certificate.
In late 2004 a group of video distributors appealed to the
Video Appeals Committee(VAC) against the BBFC's decision to award R18 certificates to 9 films that the distributors wished to be reclassified as 18. A press releaseissued by the BBFC on 20 July 2005 announced that the VAC had dismissed that appeal. [ [http://www.bbfc.co.uk/news/press/20050720.html BBFC press release 20 July 2005] ]
As of 2006, the BBFC rated the film "
Destricted" an 18 certificate. [ [http://www.bbfc.co.uk/news/press/20060704.html BBFC press release 4 July 2006] ]
* [http://www.bbfc.co.uk/classification/c_R18.php BBFC R18 guidelines]
* [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/592651/ Screen Online article about the R18 certificate]
* [http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk/arloh01.htm The Melon Farmers article about the R18 judicial review]
* [http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,12589,1330745,00.html?gusrc=ticker-103704 "Guardian" article about 18 certificate for "9 Songs"]
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