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British censors deem 10-hour movie of paint drying appropriate for all ages

An actual still from the movie
An actual still from the movie

Sparking the imaginations of parents looking for ways to trick their kids into putting away their tablets for a while (“okay, you can watch a movie...”), Sky News reports that the British Board of Film Classification has awarded a 10-hour movie of paint drying a “U” rating, deeming it appropriate for audiences ages four and up. “Paint Drying is a film showing paint drying on a wall. It contains no material likely to offend or harm,” the board’s official ruling says.

Let’s back up a little, shall we? While it might seem like a pretentious experimental exercise in “slow cinema,” Paint Drying was conceived as a bit of a prank on the BBFC, protesting the steep fees the board charges to classify movies. (A certificate for an average-length feature film costs about £1,000.) Why not release a movie in the U.K. without a classification, like unrated films in the U.S.? In short, you can’t.

So, after attending a BBFC open house last year where he saw his colleagues’ seeming resignation to the censorship system, filmmaker Charlie Lyne started a Kickstarter campaign to waste as much of the BBFC’s time as possible. A spiteful £6,000 later, Lyne was finally able to screen his masterpiece yesterday in the basement of the BBFC’s office in London. (At 10 hours in length, the movie actually had to be split over two days, as the board is not allowed to watch more than nine hours of movies at a time.) A 14-hour director’s cut is presumably forthcoming.

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