British Board of Film Classification

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BATHORY artwork


Type of media Film

Approved Running time 140m 23s

Release date 03/12/2010

BBFCInsight Contains strong bloody violence, torture, nudity and sexual violence

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) Juraj Jakubisko

Cast includes Anna Friel, Karel Roden, Vincent Regan, Hans Matheson

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 23/11/2010

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

BATHORY is a drama about the Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who was accused of numerous murders in the seventeenth century. It was classified '15' for strong bloody violence, torture, nudity and sexual violence.

The strong bloody violence occurs mainly during battle sequences, in which we see large spurts of blood as people are slashed at with swords. However, the sight of injuries is fleeting and there is no dwelling on detail. The film also contains some execution scenes, with sight of blood on the floor and sight of bloodstained clothing on corpses. However, the camera cuts away before the executioner's axe makes contact with the prisoner. There is also a scene in which Bathory murders a woman by stabbing her several times with a pair of scissors and a distant shot of a severed head being held aloft. The BBFC's Guidelines at '15' state that 'Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable'.

The film also contains some sequences of torture in the castle dungeons, including a topless women being whipped on the back, sight of bloody welts across a woman's buttocks as she is burned with a hot poker, and sight of people being stretched on a rack. All of these sequences are brief and it is clear that the victims are either being tortured for information or as a punishment for crimes rather than for purely sadistic reasons. The Guidelines at '15' state that 'strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable'. There is no particular sadistic or sexual motivation to the torture and the scenes in question are brief.

Another issue is sexualised nudity, including sight of a man's penis as he and Bathory kiss during a dream sequence. The Guidelines at '15' allow for nudity in a sexual context 'but without strong detail'. Although the man's penis is seen, it is clear that the couple are not actually engaged in sex.

The strongest sequence of sexual violence shows Bathory, heavily pregnant, being raped by her husband. There is no nudity or detail of the attack shown. All we see is Bathory pleading with her husband to stop as he pushes her down onto the bed and thrusts behind her. The Guidelines at '15' state that 'any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification'. The scene is important to the narrative because it is the event that causes Bathory to miscarry.

This film also features some moderate bad language.


Metrodome Distribution
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140m 23s
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