Shock Value: Audiences on the Censorship of 'A Serbian Film'

Martin Smith

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Abstract

This article argues that censorship studies must concern themselves with matters beyond the actions of the censors if they are to understand how an instance of censorship occurs. It is based on a new study of the experiences of English-speaking audiences of A Serbian Film (2010), which was heavily censored by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). It employs discourse analysis of responses to a mixed-methods survey to examine how audiences discuss media violence and censorship. This article identifies four key competing discourses used by respondents, all of which have very different implications, along with the relationships between these discourses. It demonstrates the complexity of the reception of A Serbian Film and theorises the workings of the censorship debate more widely. The invocation of ‘public opinion’ by the BBFC to justify censorship decisions necessitates a better understanding of how everyday audiences talk about censorship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-212
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

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