What an interesting week it's been! The BBFC un-ban THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II: FULL SEQUENCE, but now they have banned THE BUNNY GAME (2010, Adam Rehmeier)!
As discussed here back at the beginning of July, it seems the BBFC didn't approve of the film's provocative, uncompromising content and amoral tone. Their Press Release, from 12th October 2011, says it all:
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has rejected the sexually violent DVD The Bunny Game. The film follows a female prostitute who hitches a lift with a truck driver. The truck driver kidnaps the woman, restrains and forcibly strips her, and proceeds to physically and sexually abuse and humiliate her. The abuse of the kidnapped woman takes up the greater part of the film.
The principal focus of The Bunny Game is the unremitting sexual and physical abuse of a helpless woman, as well as the sadistic and sexual pleasure the man derives from this. The emphasis on the woman’s nudity tends to eroticise what is shown, while aspects of the work such as the lack of explanation of the events depicted, and the stylistic treatment, may encourage some viewers to enjoy and share in the man’s callousness and the pleasure he takes in the woman’s pain and humiliation.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said: “It is the Board’s carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board’s Guidelines, would risk potential harm within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, and would accordingly be unacceptable to the public.”
The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt with through cuts. However, the pervasiveness of the abuse makes it very difficult to deal with The Bunny Game by means of cuts. If the company would like to attempt to cut this work in order to submit it in a reduced form, they are entitled to do so, but the Board can offer no assurances that such re-editing would be successful.
The decision to reject The Bunny Game was taken by the Director, David Cooke and the Presidential Team of Sir Quentin Thomas, Alison Hastings and Gerard Lemos. The decision means that the film cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK.
Trinity Filmed Entertainment, who were the UK distributors, have not yet made any announcement, other than stating their extreme disappointment in the BBFC's decision. Admittedly, the film was only being submitted for a home viewing certificate - that is DVD and Blu-Ray release. As such, there's no telling whether or not the BBFC would have allowed a version of the film for theatrical release.
If the experience of Tom Six and Bounty Films are anything to go by, expect Trinity to appeal the decision, and try to see if a version of the film can be produced that the BBFC may approve of - if not for home viewing, at the very least for cinema release. It worked before!
Mark Sandell, co-director of Trinity, who acquired the film during Cannes this year, is quoted as saying:
We knew the film was challenging and confrontational, but also felt, as a independent filmmaker, Adam Rehmeir (the director), had a highly original filmic eye and had elicited powerful performances from the cast. We did imagine that the BBFC might ask for cuts but an outright ban gives the film a twisted notoriety that, quite frankly, it doesn't warrant.
Adam Rehmeier, the director commented:
Rodleen and I didn't make 'The Bunny Game' to glamorise prostitution. It is far from an erotic film. It is a modern cautionary tale grounded in reality.