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9 Songs (2004) - Michael Winterbottom
Related: Michael Winterbottom - rock music - unsimulated sex in mainstream films - British cinema - 2004
9 Songs (2004) - Michael Winterbottom
9 Songs (2004) - Michael Winterbottom [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
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. It is unclear whether this marks the end of the R18 certificate, or whether the BBFC will apply an "artistic merit" test to distinguish between films which are acceptable for 18 certificates and those which recieve only R18 certificates. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R18_certificate [Dec 2004]
- Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs, the most sexually explicit film in the history of British cinema, has been passed uncut by the British Board of Film Classification, it was announced today.
The film consists almost entirely of explicitly shot real sex scenes between its two actors.
The BBFC admitted audiences may find the scenes of real sex "shocking".
The Board concluded: "Some people may find such explicit images shocking or unexpected in a cinema film. The Board is sensitive to public concerns, and its guidelines are based on extensive consultation.
"The Board's guidelines allow the more explicit images of sexual activity at '18' if they can be exceptionally justified by context.
"The Board has concluded in this case that adults should be free to choose whether or not to see the film." --http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/10/19/1097951672119.html [Oct 2004]
- The BBFC has classified Michael Winterbottom's film 9 Songs '18' uncut for cinema release. The film portrays the development of a relationship between two people, and includes a number of scenes of explicit, real, sexual activity. The Board carefully considered whether these scenes contravened the current classification Guidelines.
Some people may find such explicit images shocking or unexpected in a cinema film. The Board is sensitive to public concerns, and its Guidelines are based on extensive consultation. The Board's Guidelines allow the more explicit images of sexual activity at '18' if they can be exceptionally justified by context. The Board has concluded in this case that adults should be free to choose whether or not to see the film. The film does not raise issues of harm or sexual violence. The film's exploration of the relationship provides sufficient contextual justification for the Board to pass the work uncut at '18'. 9 Songs is wholly different in appearance, tone, intention and treatment from the sex works which the Board classifies either at '18' or 'R18' (and which in the latter case may be supplied only in licensed sex shops).
The Board's consumer advice for the film will make clear that the film contains frequent strong real sex so that anyone who might be offended can avoid seeing the film.
Note for Editors
Although not numerous, there are precedents for the Board passing real sex at '18', including Ai No Corrida classified '18' in 1991 (which also depicts the development of a relationship using images of real sex) and more recently Romance (1999) and Intimacy (2001). --http://www.bbfc.co.uk/Press_Releases/News/20041018.html [Oct 2004]
- While filmmakers have used the cinema to explore the subject of sex for many decades, the last few years have seen a breakthrough of sorts in terms of explicitness. Catherine Breillat's Romance and Bruno Dumont's Twentynine Palms are just two of the many recent films in which serious art house filmmakers have pushed the boundaries of what can be shown. Now Michael Winterbottom, a regular Festival standout, has emerged with a low-budget, small-scale film that pushes them even further. 9 Songs includes explicit sex scenes that leave nothing to the imagination (so audiences beware!), but Winterbottom is an artist whose taste and restraint are never in question. This is not a prurient piece of voyeuristic filmmaking, but an earnest, sensitive examination of a relationship that everyone can relate to: an intense, new love affair between two people discovering each other in the first blush of attraction.
The film is delightfully simple in structure and story. Winterbottom depicts domestic and intimate moments in the life of his couple. These interior scenes begin with sex, then broaden to capture the quotidian: breakfast, a trip to the seaside, scenes in the bathroom. They are intercut with concerts that the couple attend at the Brixton Academy - featuring groups like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, Elbow, Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, The Dandy Warhols, Super Furry Animals and even Michael Nyman - where we hear the nine songs of the title. The story is told by Matt (Kieran O'Brien) in flashback voice-over during a visit to Antarctica - he is a glaciologist - as he looks back on his time with Lisa (Margo Stilley).
But the core of the film is their sexual relationship, casual and open, moving increasingly into fantasy and verging on the playfully sadomasochistic. 9 Songs does not attempt to be profound in any obvious way; it lacks the angst and self-examination that went into Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris. Instead, it is a wonderfully natural and unselfconscious look at what goes on between a couple in the privacy of their bedroom. --http://www.e.bell.ca/filmfest/2004/filmsschedules/description.asp?pageID=searchforafilm&id=7 [Oct 2004]
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