Anyone who has even the most simple smattering of knowledge about the ‘video nasties’ era, screen censorship or state censorship understands the question posed by CENSOR, Prano Bailey-Bond first feature film. If films are being censored to stop viewer harm, how are those censoring them immune to what they see? Interesting answers and even more profoundly pertinent questions are abound from this. Answered in academia, cinema theory and culture commentary, CENSOR navigates this tale via shock, gore and video awe. Its 1985 and the growing  hysteria surrounding video nasties, is spilling over into a moral panic. Enid (Niamh Algar) is a film censor with the job of cutting and classifying all of these ‘video nasties’. Often this is all schlock and shock. Blood baths and organs splatter. However one film, DONT GO INTO THE CHURCH, leaves a bitter taste. This latest viewing has a disturbingly familiar storyline and as she seeks the truth by way of video shops and the films set, everything will unravel in her mind. From  her sisters disappearance, her collapsing mental health and her censoring job.

CENSOR looks and feels very much like it is a ‘worthy’ film. Using intelligence and film language to get its point across. However what we have under a lot of this is really little. A little half hearted if I am really honest. Any answer it gives us is simplistic, putting it simply and without much in the way of new, compelling or even compellingly. Yes we get that those censoring films are not immune to what they seem and yes, neither should they be. CENSOR direction by Prano Bailey-Bond really does extrapolates, macerates and divines but what it delivers is not a lot. Even more absurd is that it delivers little in the way of conversation points on the topic either.

There are some good points. Algar is excellent, emotionally vulnerable if sometimes empty eyed. Visually it also looks very high spec, Annika Summerson cinematography is sumptuous. Interestingly however this all crafts the piece with almost a broad emptiness. The script is sadly, even weaker. It feels like Anthony Fletcher and Bailey-Bond lose all sense of an idea and then, desperate to say something,  seem to end up with stating something in the most basic and simple terms. The censors ideal of repression creates the destructive elements and are more about their morality and what they impose on us, which causes harm. Problem is that lacks a whole host of nuance and feels like a jibe over a more cleverly put assertion. 

The Extras on the disc are something else however. Really, really good. The best is Kat Ellinger, Lindsay Hallam and Miranda Corcoran zoom meeting discussion on the film. I know two of them really well and they are compelling here, picking apart the films text with insight. Also historical depth on the Nasties. Ban the Sadist Videos! Parts One and Two feature length documentary deserves attention, more for the many who know nothing about the age and the horrors, though the doc is not the best on the subject (but better than Jake West’s very meaningful but considerably average one)

Special Features 

  • New audio commentary by Director and Co-Writer Prano Bailey-Bond and Executive Producer Kim Newman
  • New audio commentary by Prano Bailey-Bond, Director of Photography Annika Summerson, Editor Mark Towns and Sound Designer Tim Harrison
  • New audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, Lindsay Hallam and Miranda Corcoran
  • My Own Nasty: a new interview with Prano Bailey-Bond
  • Penning a Nasty: a new interview with Co-Writer Anthony Fletcher
  • The Censor: a new interview with Actor Niamh Algar
  • Nasty Images: a new interview with Annika Summerson
  • I’m Cutting It: a new interview with Mark Towns
  • Nasty Sounds: a new interview with Composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch 
  • The Making of Censor 
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Enid’s Gaze: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on Censor
  • Screening Q&A with Prano Bailey-Bond and Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch hosted by Jed Shepherd
  • Prano Bailey-Bond in conversation with BBFC compliance Officer David Hyman
  • My Nasty Memories by David Gregory
  • Ban the Sadist Videos! Parts One and Two feature length documentary
  • English subtitles for the hearing impaired

Limited Edition Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by James Neal
  • Soft cover book with new essays by Anna Bogutskaya, Kat Ellinger, Tim Murray, Alison Peirse and Hannah Strong plus production photos
  • 6 collectors’ art cards 

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