Are you 16? Don’t think about watching this 3D sex film

The 16 rating for Gaspar Noé’s sex epic has been swapped for an 18 – an unprecedented case of censorship in France

Love isn’t pornography, argue its directors. Sure, there’s sex in it, but the whole point of the film is to look at a “non-pornographic exploration of the beauty of love making”. 

The controversial 3D film, from Enter the Void director Gaspar Noé, features unsimulated sex scenes and was awarded a 16 certificate after being shown at Cannes. However, this was changed to an 18 earlier this week by the administrative court in Paris – a switcheroo many are saying is unprecendented in France. Noé has spoken out against the rating in French paper Libération, worried that this will start a wave of self-censorship in French film. “Directors or producers may start to be afraid,” he says in the interview. “There is a risk that the filmmakers or writers censor themselves.”

The film’s rating was changed partly due to a complaint from right-wing pressure group Promouvoir, which works to “promote Judeo-Christian values in all areas of social life”.

Another French director, Jean-Paul Salomé, pointed to the fact that kids these days are much more likely to find content far worse than a bit of rumpy-pumpy online than they are in cinemas. He said: “The decision is absurd at a time when anyone, minor or not, can easily find on the internet images far more traumatic than anything in Gaspar Noé’s film.”

Many are worried that this signifies the end of France’s traditionally liberal policy on film classification, and that they are entering a new phase of prudishness and censorship. The producer of Love, Vincent Maraval, summed up what a lot of people were thinking when he tweeted a graphic saying, “In France, love is now forbidden for those under 18”.