December 3rd, 2004

breaking bad

Free willy

The Director of the new Merchant of Venice film reports "a very curious request (from the US distributors) which said 'Could you please paint-box out the wallpaper?'. I said wallpaper, what wallpaper? This is the 16th century, people didn't have wall-paper." When he examined the scenes, he realised the letter was referring to frescoes by Paolo Veronese, the acclaimed Venetian 16th-century artist, which, when examined closely, showed a naked cupid. "A billion dollars worth of Veronese great master's frescoes they want paint-boxed out because of this cupid's willy. It is absolutely absurd,"

From Crooked Timber. The first commentator notes that 'Room With a View' (rated PG in Europe) was refused a cinema certificate in the US, due to a flash of flaccid willy in the nude bathing scene.

I'm still laughing at calling a Veronese fresco 'the wallpaper'.
breaking bad

More on censorship

I was just discussing with edblog (who alas has abandoned his journal) how censorship has changed in britain, just over the past year. What is acceptable on TV has changed radically. For example, I have been watching the excellent but explicit drama 'Bodies' which is set in an obstetrics and gynaecology ward. Next week's episode (which I previewed on BBC3) goes out from 9-10pm next Wednesday and shows a baby's head wedged into an open vagina during birth. It's an absolutely crucial scene, massively emotionally engaging, in which two doctors who hate each other put their differences aside to carry out a series of desperate measures to save the mother and baby's lives. Then go back to hating each other. It goes down as one of my most emotionally engaging TV episodes ever, but it couldn't have been shown even a year ago (IMHO). My heart is beating hard now just thinking about how frightening and moving it was, and seeing the explicit harrowing imagery was a valid part of the emotional force of the episode.