I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.
The above quote, attributed to 17th Century Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire, reminds us that freedom of speech and the attempt to suppress it – censorship - is an issue that spans back centuries, probably ever since humans first felt the urge to share their opinions and push the boundaries of their creative expression.
FrightFest is in its 11th year and the 2010 edition was the first time that official bodies have ever queried any of the titles in the festival’s line up. Two films were affected, the remade I Spit On Your Grave and the controversial A Serbian Film. Both were due to be shown as unedited, unrated versions, the norm for this type of film festival. However, Westminster Council, under whose jurisdiction the Empire Leicester Square falls, queried the content of both movies and stipulated that they be rated and passed by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) before they would allow them to be shown.
Echoing this censorship theme was the airing at FrightFest of new documentary Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape, which looks at the UK government and media reaction to the widespread, unregulated distribution of so-called ‘video nasty’ movies in the early 1980’s.
The censorship debate at this year’s festival seems very fitting, astrologically speaking, when you consider that the final exact alignment of the current Saturn-Pluto squares that begun in late 2009, occurred just four days before the start of the event.
Saturn and Pluto are two of the most heavy-hitting of the planets in astrology and when they line up in an angular relationship (such as a conjunction, square or opposition), it is reflected in the collective as restriction, control, oppression, conservative reaction and censorship. Restraints tend to be placed on collective freedoms by authority figures, their rationale often being that they are doing it ‘for our own good’. Collectively, we are made very aware of moral boundaries and taboos, but we are also asked to find the moral courage to face our darkest fears. This is because during Saturn-Pluto times, metaphorically speaking, we are visited by the devil, come to take us to hell and back, stealing our innocence along the way.
When Westminster Council, which in this context can be seen as a Saturnian authority figure, queried this movie, FrightFest’s organisers duly submitted the film to the BBFC, who asked for 49 cuts, amounting to 3 minutes and 49 seconds of content. This occurred just a couple of days before the festival was due to start and festival organiser Alan Jones made the decision not to show the movie, telling the FrightFest audience, “I am not going to stand here and tell you that you are going to watch a heavily censored version of a film.” He added that the film had already been shown at many other film festivals around the world without a problem, although he acknowledged that the film was challenging and would be disturbing to some. In a media release Jones explained “Film4 FrightFest has decided not to show A Serbian Film in a heavily cut version because, as a festival with a global integrity, we think a film of this nature should be shown in its entirety as per the director’s intention," 
According to director Srđan Spasojević, the movie “is a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government... It's about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you don’t want to do.”  I cannot comment on the movie, as I did not view it, but you can read a plot synopsis on Wikipedia , but be warned, it makes for disturbing reading.
The reviews offer a flavour of how the film has been received and undeniably describe a Plutonic experience, with one review by Tim Anderson of Bloody Disgusting likening watching the film to having one’s “soul raped”. He goes on to say, "if what I have written here is enough to turn your feelings of wonder into a burning desire to watch this monstrosity, then perhaps I haven't been clear enough. You don't want to see Serbian Film. You just think you do." 
Another reviewer, Scott Weinburg says, “[the] film seems aggressively intent on delivering some moments that, indeed, you will never forget, even if you want to…I believe it's one of the most legitimately fascinating films I've ever seen. I admire and detest it at the same time. And I will never watch it again. Ever." 
Furthermore, user reviews on at imdb.com say that this movie is extreme, disturbing and hellish, exploring dark themes of evil, power and control. Most agree that watching this film is an experience you will never forget and urge prospective viewers to approach it with extreme caution. Reading these reviews makes it sound like watching the movie is akin to experiencing a condensed Saturn-Pluto transit, to the power of 1,000! 
Interestingly, the film chosen to replace A Serbian Film was Buried , a tense, claustrophobic piece, limited to just one point of view throughout, that of a man buried under the ground, confined in a wooden box. It seemed there was no escaping those Saturn-Pluto themes!
The push for censorship of these films began in earnest in 1982, its timing bang on for the exact alignment of the early 80’s Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which marked the beginning of the current Saturn-Pluto cycle. The timing of the Video Recording Act in ’84, synchs with the end days of the influence of that same conjunction.
The timing of this new documentary represents perfect closure for that particular slice of historical censorship, coming as it does at the tail end of the last major Saturn-Pluto alignment of the current cycle.
Ironically, but not surprisingly, the Director of Public Prosecution’s list of designated ‘Video Nasties’ soon became the list of must-see movies for teenagers all over the land! One of the films on the ‘Nasties’ list was I Spit On Your Grave, a film that remains controversial to this day due to its depiction of gang rape, followed by graphic depictions of violent revenge subsequently taken by the rape victim on her attackers.
Again, it’s interesting to note that a movie that came to notoriety at the start of the current Saturn-Pluto cycle has been remade for a new generation of horror fans during the last square, the final quarter, of the same cycle.
The film was on the whole well received by festival goers. I for one thought that is was very well done and while the rape scenes were very dark and difficult to watch, I took grim pleasure in seeing the rapists get their bloody comeuppance. It will be interesting to see the reaction it gets when it goes on general release
The chart for FrightFest 2010  is telling, because the Saturn-Pluto square is very prominent, with Pluto, here representing horror, on the Ascendant and Saturn, representing the boundaries set by official bodies and authority figures, in the dark house of sex and taboo, the eighth. Saturn and Pluto also connect in hard aspect to Jupiter and Uranus, symbolising the unexpected shocks and surprises at this year’s festival, events which in retrospect, may seem a little exaggerated.
Communication planet Mercury is Retrograde in Virgo and also in the 8th, another indicator that the festival’s schedule would need to be reviewed and re-jigged. Certainly, the event was dogged with a few Mercury Retrograde-esque technical issues at the start.
Meanwhile, Neptune, the planet which symbolises movies and represents illusions and fantasies, opposes the Sun, also in the 8th, reminding us that for all the fuss, these films are merely works of fiction, no matter how challenging their themes and their images might be.
Or to put it another way, “to avoid fainting, keep repeating "It's only a movie...It's only a movie..." 
 Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape is released on DVD in the UK on October 11th: http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/15903775/Video-Nasties-The-Definitive-Guide/Product.html
 You can see a clip of the Q&A/debate that followed the screening of Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape at FrightFest, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P2T-nuGTts
 For more on I Spit on your Grave see http://www.ispitonyourgravemovie.com/ The film is due for general release this fall. At the time of writing, it is intended that the movie shown in its uncut version in the US.
 You can read the BBFC’s ruling on A Serbian Film and I Spit on your Grave http://www.bbfc.co.uk/press/newsreleases/bbfc-cuts-a-sernian-film-and-remake-of-i-spit-on-your-grave
 Chart set for 26 August 2010, 5pm, London. The time used is the advertised start time of the first day of the festival.
Tagline for banned “Video Nasty” The Last House on the Left, the first film by noted horror director Wes Craven http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_House_on_the_Left_(1972_film)
For more on the censorship issues at FrightFest see: FrightFest: return of the censor? http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/newsandviews/festivals/frightfest-2010-nasties.php
For more on the current Saturn-Pluto cycle see: http://mandilockley.blogspot.com/2009/11/saturn-pluto-part-3-politics-economics.html
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