Sweden To End Most Film Censorship By 2011

STOCKHOLM — It's been 14 years since the Sweden's Statens Biografbyra censored a film — Martin Scorsese's Casino for depictions of drug use and violence — and few have been banned outright (including, if you can believe it, silent classic Nosferatu because it was "too horrifying"; Mad Max, mainly for the ultra-violence; and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, for similar reasons), but all that will end in 2011 when the country will close down the censor board, to be replaced by a film rating board somewhat similar to the U.S.'s MPAA.

The Swedes have never had a problem with depictions of sex unless served with a heavy dose of violence, and old-timers may fondly remember a pair of Vilgot Sjoman films that barely made it past America's censors: I Am Curious (Yellow) and I Am Curious (Blue), the former featuring star Lena Nyman kissing her boyfriend's flaccid penis. But even the official objections to violent scenes will be done away with, leaving only child porn on the list of things that cannot be shown. All other films will be rated by the new board as acceptable for all ages, or for ages 7 and up, 11 and up and 15 and up. Films not submitted for rating will automatically receive the 15 rating.

The censor board's abolition was recommended in a government-commissioned report authored by Marianne Eliason, a Justice on Sweden's Supreme Administrative Court. If the Swedish Parliament accepts Eliason's recommendations, at it is expected that they will, Sweden will join the rest of the Scandinavian nations in having abolished film censorship.

But although the new ratings board will decide what age level is appropriate to see each of the films released in Sweden, it is interesting that 15-year-olds are considered sufficiently mature to handle any material that can legally be shown, including hardcore porn.