Axelle Carolyn Forced to Cut SOULMATE

Written by Andrew Marshall Tuesday, 01 July 2014

Movie News

Soulmate

SOULMATE, the debut feature film of actor/writer/director Axelle Carolyn, has had its opening sequence cut following a BBFC ruling on its content. The scene, which sees the film’s protagonist Audrey attempt to kill herself by slashing her wrists, was deemed objectionable due to regulations on “imitable behaviour.” These state that 'showing a practical and effective way of killing yourself (specifically the direction of the cuts) means that people could attempt to copy it'. However, this remains blithely oblivious to the tacit and illogical assumption that people trying to kill themselves are acting in a rational frame of mind and will utilise all reason and knowledge in the attempt.

After the failed suicide attempt, Audrey retreats to countryside seclusion where she encounters Douglas, the ghost of her cottage’s previous occupant. As their relationship develops, Audrey begins to see a future for herself and Douglas gradually becomes corporeal; the continued presence of each allowing the other to become a whole person again. The purpose of the opening scene’s intensity was to show that Audrey was genuinely trying to end her life, as opposed to a “cry for help” suicide attempt, and to act as a starting point of abject despair from which her subsequent experiences would gradually allow her to find purpose and reason to live again.

The BBFC demanded 16 seconds be removed from the two and a half minute scene in order to be granted a rating, but the required edits ended up masticating the opening to such an extent Carolyn decided it would be better to just remove it entirely rather than risk it coming across as precisely the kind of watered down, almost romanticised portrayal of suicide she was intentionally trying to avoid. As this was by far the most graphic scene of the whole film, without it the rating ended up downgraded to a 15.

The judgement acts as a clear indication of the BBFC’s amazing ability to compartmentalise its rulings, when you compare the graphic content of films of recent years such as HOSTEL (people being killed in protracted and agonising ways), MARTYRS (horrific scenes of young girls being tortured), or IRREVERIBLE (a guy’s head being smashed in with a fire extinguisher and a ten-minute unbroken rape scene). Each of these brutal and arguably misogynistic assaults on your eyeballs were passed without any content required to be removed, whereas the uncut version of an emotional Gothic drama is now effectively banned. Carolyn initially voiced her reaction to the absurdity on Twitter with a declaration of, “Take that, splat pack: I made a video nasty without even trying.

Perhaps in the mid-‘80s when the guidelines were first put into place and questionable information was far less accessible they may have had more relevance. But nowadays with the Internet housing the sum total of human knowledge that can be scoured for a chosen subject in a matter of seconds (and was also how Carolyn found the relevant details in order to include them in the film in the first place), the reasoning of the ruling is rendered somewhat redundant.

The (cut) DVD of SOULMATE is released on 11th August.


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