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Type of media Film

Approved Running time 6m 13s

Release date 04/07/2011

Rating Info Contains strong sexual and sexualised violence

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) Marc Hawker,Isabel Whitaker

Cast includes Thea Wellband, Angela Dixon, Guy Oliver Watts, Kyarna Rose Shea, Andrew McHale, Michael Lindall, Danny Kennedy, John Rackham, James Alexander, Jack Bannell, Pete Garrett

Cut This work was passed uncut.

  • Suitable only for adults icon18

Rating info

Rating info publication date 24/06/2011

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

UNWATCHABLE is a short campaigning film based on true stories from the Congo about how the military use rape as a tactic of war in order to gain control over the mineral resources used in the manufacture of mobile phones The film was classified '18' for strong sexual and sexualised violence.

The BBFC's Guidelines at '15' state 'any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification'. The film shows a group of armed soldiers breaking into a family home, repeatedly raping the teenage daughter in front of her parents. More than one of the soldiers rapes the girl and it is implied that one soldier does so using a gun. Although the scene does not feature any nudity or other strong detail, the scene is extremely brutal in nature and comprises a significant portion of the film. The protracted and harrowing nature of the sequence exceeds the terms of the '15' Guidelines but is permissible at '18', given the lack of any eroticisation or endorsement of sexual violence, and the serious point being made. Following the rape, the father is shot in the head and it is implied that he has been genitally mutilated by the soldiers. We see a large patch of blood around his crotch, although no genitals are shown, and we then see the mother with blood around her mouth, implying that she has been required to participate in the mutilation in a degrading sexual fashion. Although this portion of the film implies what has happened, rather than explicitly depicting the actions of the soldiers, it also exceeds the terms of the '15' Guidelines, which state 'strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable'. The film also contains several aggressive uses of strong language.

Given the potentially distressing and upsetting nature of the film, the BBFC has requested that a warning about its contents should be displayed at the box office of cinemas in which it is due to be shown. This is because, as a short feature, it may appear unbidden before other feature films. It is less likely that audiences will be aware of the contents of this short film than they might be about the feature they have chosen to see.


Black Jack Films
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
6m 13s
Approved footage
BBFC reference
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