Beware Portuguese Film Certificates!

bruce lee

“What are they watching?” asked Zed, referring to the children.

“Urmm, some film about the life of Bruce Lee?”

“What’s the certificate?”

I left the washing up and admitted I didn’t know.  Only our 14 year old daughter was actually watching it while nine year old Jae was swinging off the stairs and racing along the corridor while rain pelted down outside, keeping him cooped up and indoors.

untitledbruce lee

Bruce Lee

Zed went over to the computer and looked it up.  “It’s a 15 certificate, why are they watching a 15?”

“Ermm, because it’s daytime tv?” I responded, defensively.

Okay I admit I’m so used to the 9.00 o’clock watershed in England where only news programmes are allowed to show completely distressing and unsuitable visuals for children at any hour of the day and particularly at tea time, that it had only briefly crossed my mind.  Surely the life story of Bruce Lee wouldn’t be too bad otherwise it wouldn’t be on at this hour.  “Obviously it was going to be violent and not a PG,” Zed pointed out as I handed him a cup of tea.

The Glass House

The Glass House

I should have known better though because we’d already agreed to turn off ‘The Glass House’ which I’d let her watch in preference to a screechy American cartoon the name of which escapes me, but it was some sort of a hybrid between the voices of ‘The Simpsons’,  ‘Futurama’ and ‘Sponge Bob’, compared to which scraping my fingers down a blackboard sounded like a lullaby.

untitled Futurama

Friday night at Quinta Blackberry in Portugal is film night for everyone except Jae so that we can watch films suitable for 12 and over, the original point being to introduce a back catalogue of classic films but which regularly degenerates into choosing modern day teen fluff.  Daughter’s choice last night was ‘Elysium’, purely based on the fact that it was a sci fi film and available on the Meo film rental channel.  I agreed mainly because I like Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.  Well, okay, Matt Damon.


The film was rated a ’12’.  I knew nothing about its content and soon discovered most of the film consisted of robots and mean guys trying to kill Matt Damon’s character with constant shoot outs, some love interest loosely throw in and plenty of bad language. After the third ‘f**&%!’ we realised it wasn’t going to be anything like suitable for twelve year olds. Ho hum, at least Jae wasn’t watching it too.

images Matt Damon

Afterwards Zed consulted his computer.  Although the film was rated a ’12’ in Portugal, in England the BBFC had given it a certificate 15.  Guess in future if in any doubt we’re going to have to double check the rating.  It’s not the first time we’ve been caught out and I expect it won’t be the last.

images766PIKUH images elysium

I do wonder though why the Portuguese film board (the CCE) think that mass murder and strong language is suitable for twelve year olds and that guys on the rampage with machine guns, knives and metal gouged into their body and brains isn’t likely to cause ‘psychic trauma’ in under 12s.  Maybe they use the well respected BBC daytime news channel as their benchmark.  I know, you all want to watch it now.