FrightFest drops A Serbian Film from lineup

The directors of the Film4 Frightfest have decided not to screen the controversial A Serbian Film in light of almost four minutes of cuts to the film demanded by the British censor, the BBFC.

In a statement released to the press, FrightFest co-director Alan Jones said:

Film4 FrightFest has decided not to show A Serbian Film in a heavily cut version because, as a festival with a global integrity, we think a film of this nature should be shown in its entirety as per the director’s intention. Several film festivals across the world have already done so. Unlike the I Spit on Your Grave remake, where we are showing the BBFC certified print, as requested by Westminster Council, the issues and time-line complexities surrounding A Serbian Film make it impossible for us to screen it

I'm not surprised that Frightfest decided to drop A Serbian Film; it's been shrouded in controversy ever since it was announced as part of the programme. What does surprise me is the BBFC's decision to order such drastic cuts to a film that has been screened at other festivals this year – South by Southwest, in Texas, and Fantasia in Montreal – without a hitch.

This ruling, combined with the 40 seconds of cuts demanded for the remake of I Spit on Your Grave, seems a bizarre about-face for the BBFC, which in recent years has become a lot more relaxed about strong, adult content in films.

Last year we saw uncut releases of two previously banned films – Caligula, and Salo (both of which are still banned in Australia). Also released uncut in the past few years was been Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs, which contained scenes of real sex.

Follow our full coverage of this year's Film4 Frightfest

Read our review of A Serbian Film

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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