ELLES | British Board of Film Classification
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ELLES artwork


Type of media Video

Approved Running time 95m 29s

Ratings Info Contains strong nudity, sex, sexual fetish and a scene of sexual violence

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) Malgoska Szumowska

Cast includes Juliette Binoche, Anais Demoustier, Joanna Kulig, Louis-Do De Lancquesaing

Cut This work was passed uncut.

  • Suitable only for adults icon18

Ratings info

Ratings info publication date 25/07/2012

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

ELLES is a French language drama set in Paris. Anne, an investigative journalist, has been commissioned to write an article about students who turn to prostitution in order to finance their university studies. The film, which includes flashbacks to the experiences of the two young prostitutes, was classified '18' for strong nudity, sex, sexual fetish and a scene of sexual violence.

The BBFC's Guidelines at '15' state 'Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail'. The film contains a number of strong sex scenes in the context of prostitution. In one scene, a male customer is seen to urinate over the breasts of a keeling prostitute. Although the scene appears to be simulated and the woman consents to the activity, this brief depiction of a strong fetish activity is more appropriately classified at '18'. The film also includes a scene of sexual violence in which it is implied that a young prostitute is being anally penetrated with a wine bottle by an aggressive client. There is no explicit detail of the penetration and the scene lacks any elements that might eroticise or endorse such abuse. However, it exceeds the terms of the '15' Guidelines, which state 'any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification'.

The film also includes two uses of strong language.


Artificial Eye Film Co. Ltd
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
95m 29s
BBFC reference

Components List

This work is made up of a number of separate components. Note that since February 2001 the BBFC has measured each component separately, but older works may not have the exact details, only a list of titles


Rating information

The version of this work detailed above is rated by the BBFC under the Video Recordings Act 1984 for use on any Packaged Media format (including DVD, Blu-ray and VHS). This classification may also be used when the same work is made available on Digital Video Platforms (including Video On Demand) provided that the platform is licenced to use BBFC ratings.

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