The world we see is not the world as it is but the approximation created within our minds from the torrent of information provided by our senses, colours and shapes and sounds and smells prioritised if they suggest food, shelter and threats while extraneous data is filtered out, senses evolved over millennia which can be artificially stimulated to create sensation without experience by projection of light on a screen in a darkened room.

In such a room sits Enid Baines, prim and proper, soberly dressed, her hair pinned up and her notepad in her lap, an officer of the British Board of Film Classification, diligent in her duty as censor as she appraises violence and violation in Cannibal Carnage, considering whether it can be cut sufficiently to protect impressionable minds or should be rejected entirely.

An appointed guardian of the nation’s moral compass, a defender against depravity, Enid’s judgement is called into question when a man murders his wife and two children, a shocking act which recreates the face-eating scene of the recently released Deranged which she passed, the media seeking to blame rather than place responsibility even though there is no evidence the killer had even seen the film.

Set in the era of Thatcher’s orchestrated public outrage, director Prano Bailey-Bond’s Censor shifts from a world of dingy offices populated by worn-out administrators and lined with dusty folders of ancient decisions through the static of the television screen into a world of forests and abandoned cabins home to terrible secrets, half imagined, half remembered.

Her traumatic childhood shaping who she has become as an adult, Raised by Wolves’ Niamh Algar is Enid, living alone, existing only for her work yet distanced from her colleagues, an encounter with oleaginous producer Doug Smart (A Field in England’s Michael Smiley) further unsettling her as he introduces her to the work of underground director Frederick North whose abused leading lady bears an uncanny resemblance to her long-missing sister Nina.

The reaction to any film as individual and malleable as memory, Enid is a study in repression, evaluating rather than feeling yet seeking answers, in the shelves of shady video rental stores where banned titles lurk in the back room and on a bloody trail through the shadowed forest where North is shooting his latest low-budget horror, a happy ending a matter of perspective crafted by careful selection of the footage, editing and soundtrack.

Censor is on general release from Friday 20th August



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons