Sex Work at the BBFC (Parts 1 and 2)

Jackson, Neil (2017) Sex Work at the BBFC (Parts 1 and 2). Screening Sex .

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Historically, the UK’s relationship to hardcore pornography has been bound by the legal requirements of the 1959 Obscene Publications Act, its hopelessly unreliable ‘deprave and corrupt’ test leading to widespread confusion in both the prosecution and the defence of charges steeped in sub-Victorian repression. The R18 was conceived in direct response to the mildly liberalising recommendations of the Williams Committee Report of 1979, which recognised a pressing need for clear distinctions between depictions of consenting sexual activity and the sexual violence that occasionally surfaced in hardcore films. It was implemented as a classification category in 1982, but its actual utilisation was sporadic until the DVD explosion of the 21st century, with reasons for its slow uptake ranging from economic prudence to legal pragmatism.

Nevertheless, it is significant that the BBFC has developed its own generic term for a cinematic phenomenon deemed to be utterly separate not only from conventional modes of dramatic representation, but also the general movement of film history itself. This may well be applicable to the ceaseless tide of home-made, ‘gonzo’ or short-form content that has characterised much moving image pornography over the years and dominated the R18 category in the digital epoch. However, the category of ‘sex work’ has effectively constructed a ghetto in which integral versions of several fascinating films from adult cinema’s most creatively vital 1970s period have been forced to reside, restricting the visibility of work by some of its key creative figures in the process.

Keywords:Film, Pornography, Film censorship
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
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ID Code:38021
Deposited On:01 Nov 2019 15:57

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