Swiss kids at The King’s Speech

March 8, 2011, 3 Comments

Where do the cleverest children in Switzerland live? In Romandie, of course. I have come to that conclusion not from looking at endless exam results and development statistics. No, it’s all down to the fact that in the French-speaking part of the country, children from the age of seven upwards can go and see The King’s Speech at the cinema. And having seen the film last week (most excellent it is too), I can only assume that they must be very intelligent seven year-olds to follow the story and read the subtitles. In comparison, German-speaking offspring are not nearly as advanced.

In most of the rest of the country, children have to be 12 before they can get in to see it, though in Basel and Bern they can be 9 and 10 respectively if they’re accompanied by an adult. Does this mean that the children in Romandie are so much cleverer? No. So maybe it’s down to money – are Romandie parents too mean to shell out for a babysitter so have to take their kids to the flicks with them? Of course not. It’s because there is no national ratings system for films in Switzerland. Depending on the local rules set in place, different regions, cantons, cities and even cinemas can set their own ratings. How very Swiss.

The laughable thing is that Switzerland just isn’t big enough to have such variations. If I had a nine-year-old who really wanted to see this film, all I would have to do is catch a train to Fribourg, 20 minutes away, and go to see it there. No need to worry about the 10 age limit here in Bern. Nor would language be a concern, despite crossing the Röstigraben – many cinemas are showing The King’s Speech in English with French and/or German subtitles. As for the poor 13-year-olds in Reinach AG, they are the only ones in the whole of Switzerland who can’t see Colin Firth stammer his stuff at the local cinema: it has imposed a 14 rating on the film. Just as well Aarau’s cinema (rating 12) is only 37 minutes away by train.

In Britain the film’s rating was 15 and in the US it was initially given an R (meaning over 17s only) – all because of one scene with more swearing than Gordon Ramsay could ever manage. While the British changed the rating to 12A (with the advice that the film ‘Contains strong language in a speech therapy context’, which I guess is the first time that’s been said), the Americans must have an expletive-deleted version to do the same. How utterly ridiculous. This is a great film that should be compulsory viewing for any teenager with self-confidence issues, but clearly swearing is far more damaging to sensitive sixteeens than all the violence that comes out of Hollywood.

Funnily enough, in Germany the film has a 0 rating, meaning suitable for all. I always knew that German five-year-olds were hyper-intelligent.

3 Comments on "Swiss kids at The King’s Speech"

  1. Tim Footman Tuesday March 8th, 2011 at 12:54 PM · Reply

    What’s the French/German/Italian for Tourette’s syndrome?

  2. Frank Monday March 14th, 2011 at 09:50 AM · Reply

    You have hit on an important point Diccon. I sometimes think that Romandes do not know, or ignore, swearing in English! I am often shocked to hear the local French language Euro2 / Virgin radio pumping out rap music full of expletives. I think they may even see the use of the F word as being cool. Anyway, as I have mentioned in a few previous posts, Romandie, or at least Geneva area, might as well be another country seperated from Switzerland, they are completely different with no Swiss characteristucs that I have yet deteced in 10 years of living here! And that’s probably why at leas once they have mulled the idea of separating and becoming the Monaco of Switzerland.

  3. Justguest Friday September 9th, 2011 at 12:05 PM · Reply

    Me myself I only come to Switzerland from time to time to see my boyfriend (long distance relationship). Last time I came there was an Enrique Iglesias song, which I know in my country as *Tonight Im loving you* played here, in Switzerland as *Tonight Im f__king you*. Made me wonder wheter they dont get the word or they just dont care. As for the people who dont allow you to sit in the McDo at Berns train station after 10pm, because you might be concidered dangerous then (such a paranoia for me)…Just weird.

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