Story by: Jack Foley
THE most sexually explicit British film in UK cinema history
is to be released next year in the UK uncut.
Nine Songs, Michael Winterbottom's follow-up to Code 46, has
been given an 18 certificate by the censors, even though it includes
scenes of real sex between its two stars.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) decided that
because the sexual content was 'exceptionally justified by context',
the film should not suffer from any draconian cuts or refused
In a statement, a BBFC spokesman added: "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."
Nine Songs shocked many viewers when it was screened at the Cannes
Film Festival because of the way in which it depicts actors, Kieran
O'Brien and Margo Stilley, performing explicit acts, including
oral sex, on each other.
Yet it did receive a positive reaction
from the critics and was described by Winterbottom as a reaction
to the growing number of 'prudish' films that were now being made.
The film will be distributed in the UK by Optimum Releasing,
who are delighted with the certificate and who describe the film
in their publicity as 'sensual, not sexual'.
At its heart, the film is designed as a love story between two
people, which is intercut with music from bands including Franz
Ferdinand, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Primal Scream and The
The story revolves around a young couple in London, Matt and
his American girlfriend, Lisa, and is told as Matt flies over
the plains of Antarctica, recalling their relationship from afar.
Optimum managing director, Will Clarke, commented: "We have
been talking to all the major chains as well as the independents.
If they decide to censor it, then we will accept their decision
- but I can't see them doing that.
"Our job is to persuade the British public to take the film
seriously as a piece of art, and I think they will."
Nine Songs will be previewed on Valentine's Day 2005, before
being released nationwide.