Headlined by the notorious 19-minute short film Visions of Ecstasy (1989), banned in the UK for 20 years, this DVD collection also brings the 2000 feature film Sacred Flesh, a sexploitation shocker depicting the adventures of a group of nuns whose love of God turns into lust for the flesh.
As special features, this DVD also brings the short films Axel (1988, 8 min.) and Faustine (1990, 2 min.), as well as outtakes from Visions of Ecstasy, an exclusive interview with Nigel Wingrove, and Hail Mary! A Brief Peek at Nunsploitation (2009), a 24-minute documentary featuring interviews with Nigel Wingrove.
With a SRP of $14.95, VISIONS OF ECSTASY: THE FILMS OF NIGEL WINGROVE will become available to the general public on November 27, 2012.
|Visions of Ecstasy
As the only film to ever be banned in the UK on the grounds of blasphemy, Nigel Wingrove’s Visions of Ecstasy is a 19-minute experimental film that depicts the erotic imaginings of 16th-century Carmelite nun St. Teresa.
Featuring a sequence in which a figure representing St. Teresa of Avila interacts sexually with a figure representing the crucified Christ, Visions of Ecstasy‘s banning was upheld in an historic judgement at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in a case that took seven years to reach its conclusion.
Now, due to the abolition of the UK’s blasphemy laws in 2008, Visions of Ecstasy – previously unseen in the US – is finally being released everywhere.
When the film was originally submitted to the BBFC in 1989, for video classification only, the Board refused to issue a classification certificate. This decision was taken on the grounds that the publication of the film, which the issue of a BBFC certificate would permit, might constitute an offense under the common law test of blasphemous libel.
The Board is required, as part of the terms of its designation under the Video Recordings Act 1984, to seek to avoid classifying any work that might infringe the criminal law. Therefore, the Board had no alternative at the time but to refuse a classification. The Board’s decision to refuse a classification to the film was subsequently upheld by the independent Video Appeals Committee.
In 2008, section 79 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.
This means that the BBFC is no longer entitled to consider whether the publication of the film might comprise a blasphemous libel.
The BBFC has carefully considered Visions of Ecstasy in terms of its current classification Guidelines. These reflect both the requirements of UK law and the wishes of the UK public, as expressed through regular large scale consultation exercises. With the abolition of the offense of blasphemy, the Board does not consider that the film is in breach of any other UK law that is currently in force. Nor does the Board regard the film as likely to cause harm to viewers in the terms envisioned by the Video Recordings Act. The Board recognizes that the content of the film may be deeply offensive to some viewers.
However, the Board’s Guidelines reflect the clear view of the public that adults should have the right to choose their own viewing, provided that the material in question is neither illegal nor harmful.
In the absence of any breach of UK law and the lack of any credible risk of harm, as opposed to mere offensiveness, the Board had no sustainable grounds on which to refuse a classification to VISIONS OF ECSTASY in 2012.
Please, contact Rodrigo Brandão at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to schedule an interview with director (and Redemption Films founder) Nigel Wingrove in the next weeks.
AXEL (1988, 8 min.)
FAUSTINE (1990, 2 min.)
SACRED FLESH (2000, 72 min.)
VISIONS OF ECSTASY outtakes
Interview with Nigel Wingrove (1990)
HAIL MARY! A BRIEF PEEK AT NUNSPLOITATION (2009), a 24-minute documentary featuring interviews with Nigel Wingrove.
“Finding Ecstasy on the Road to Redemption,” a 36-page illustrated essay on the censorship of VISIONS OF ECSTASY by the British Board of Film Classification and the legal battle to overturn the ruling (ROM content).