Region: Europe, North America
Subject: Explicit Sexuality
Medium: Film Video
Artist: David Cronenberg
Confronting Bodies: Conservative Party of Great Britain, British Board of Film Classification
Dates of Action: 1996
Location: Great Britain
Description of Artwork: The film adaptation of the novel Crash was one of the most controversial movies of the 1990s. Crash is about a couple that has extramarital affairs in order to keep their relationship interesting. After the husband gets into a car crash which kills the man in the other car dies he makes love to the man's widow. After this he, and his wife, is drawn into a cult who restages famous fatal car crashes for erotic stimulation. The movie contains many graphic sex scenes between people who are sexually obsessed with car crashes, car crash victims, and the wounds people get in car crashes.
The Incident: When Crash was released at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996 a review by Alexander Walker in The Evening Standard started the controversy over the movie. When news broke that the British Board of Film Classification was going to consider granting Crash a certificate and that the movie would be shown at the London Film Festival newspapers and Conservative MPs called for the banning of the film. The call for censorship was also part of an election year campaign to blame liberal forces for causing depravity and moral corruption in British society. After a series of studies and investigations the British Board of Film Classification deemed that the film was not illegal or harmful. In the United States the release of the film was delayed but it was released a few months later with an NC-17 rating.
Results of Incident: The film was shown in a limited number of theaters in the United States and Britain.
Source: Censorship: A World Encyclopedia