BFI: “No More Villains With Scars or No More Money”

BFI: “No More Villains With Scars or No More Money”

Some of us are gamers and if you fancy making a villain, you envision what “tough” looks like. From a hockey goon to fantasy fighter to a barbarian horde, when creativity takes over, said tough guy may incur a scar on his face. 

For some reason, the appearance of a hefty scar on the antagonist of a game, show, or film creates a mysterious perception of malevolence. They work in the annals of entertainment for effect. 

We have seen them on dudes from several ‘James Bond’ movies to The Crow to all those damn pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean. And yeah, there was also that Joker guy with a few pronounced scratches on his face in The Dark Knight.

Scars bring an aura of badass, but apparently, they also haul a truckload of politically correctiveness. People are soft these days and that is no more evident than what is now seen across the pond. 

The British Film Institute (BFI) is dedicated to funding British-made movies. However, due to a recent partnership with a non-profit, charitable group Changing Faces, they are putting peculiar limits on that money. 

Thanks to this partnership, if a film has anyone with scars on their face, they will be laughed out of the room when asked to “Show Me The Money.” Literally, denied funding because of anything from a facial scratch to trauma after a burn

“Film has such a powerful influence on society, it enables us to see the world in new ways, enriches lives and can make a vital contribution to our well-being. It also is a catalyst for change and that is why we are committing to not having negative representations depicted through scars or facial difference in the films we fund. It’s astonishing to think that films have used visible difference as a shorthand for villainy so often and for so long. The time has come for this to stop.”

Dr. James Patridge, Changing Faces founder and CEO

I’m not this smart. I couldn’t make that up! Changing Faces launched an awareness campaign called #IAmNotYourVillain to urge UK producers to reconsider a scratchy-faced ne’er-do-well in their beatnik films. 

What they do in real life is admirable and should be enforced to make people look beyond the scars to see the person. But, this is not real life. 

No more Scar from The Lion King. No more Tony Montana and well… $#@* Face (don’t want to offend by typing that word). No more Gill from Finding Nemo. Even Colonel Quartich in Avatar had three scars. Those days are gone in the UK. 

So, are those memorable roles are deemed offensive because of their scars? Never mind the heinous acts of violence and ill will bestowed on anyone in a villain’s path being a bad model for the kids. Add facial scratches and you need to work on your manners?! 

And scars aren’t always applied to the bad breed. Think about Inigo Montoya.

Sure, he was hired to kidnap Princess Buttercup but he was awesome and still had two clean scars spread evenly on his face. But now, if you ask the BFI, he sucks. 

Becky Hewitt, Changing Faces’ chief executive, added her paltry two cents, “The film industry has such power to influence the public with its representation of diversity, and yet films use scars and looking different as a shorthand for villainy far too often.” 

Yeah, that George Lucas really took the easy way out with a scarred Darth Vader. Fire tends to leave a mark, but eh… who cares about all that. Next time, just give the guy a mask, like Zorro because that’s looks fierce in movies. 


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