French rock band Indochine have provoked an angry backlash with the graphic video for their new single ‘College Boy.’ It shows a bullied teenager being beaten, urinated on, crucified and shot in a schoolyard.
Regulators said on Thursday that the video was likely to face censorship in France.
“It shows images whose violence is immeasurable, and there's enough of this kind of violence already” Françoise Laborde, from the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) told Europe 1 radio.
“Death is not stylish. Violence is not stylish. Torture is not stylish,” Laborde added, describing herself as 'outraged.'
“Since it is extremely violent, it can’t be broadcast on satellite TV. At a minimum, it should be banned for anyone under 16 years of age, and maybe even 18,” she said.
The six-minute video for ‘College Boy’ features black-and-white, slow-motion scenes from the troubled school day and unhappy home life of a bullied teenage boy.
The video shows him having paper and a basketball thrown at his face, and moody, stylistic shots of him looking upset.
However, the second half quickly descends into a disturbing cycle of violence and torture at the hands of a group of schoolyard bullies.
The video shows graphic images of the boy being thrown down a set of stairs, punched and kicked, urinated on and then nailed to a cross wrapped in fairy lights before bring shot.
All the while, fellow pupils are shown capturing the scene on their mobile phones.
Despite such imagery, those responsible for the video reject suggestions it will lead to copycat incidents in real life.
“To say that this encourages violence is completely stupid,” the video’s Canadian director, Xavier Dolan, told French daily Le Parisien on Thursday.
“Is it really any more violent than the movies that are constantly appearing on our screens?” he added.
Dolan reacted angrily to the prospect of the video being banned during daytime hours on music channels in France, .
“That really bothers me. On these kind of channels you see situations that are racist, violent and degrading – particularly to women.
“So it seems absurd to me that this video should be censored," he added.
While French regulators may be shocked by the video, Dolan and Indochine have received significant support from French users of social networks. Radio and TV host Emilie Mazoyer summed up the view of many Twitter users, saying:
"Some people find Indochine's music video 'violent.' Yes, it does turn your stomach for six minutes. But bullied students go through that 300 days a year. Imagine that."
Certains trouvent le clip d'Indochine "violent". Oui, il retourne le bide en 6 min. Les élèves harcelés vivent cela 300 jours/an. Imaginez.— Emilie Mazoyer (@EmilieRadioFr) May 2, 2013
Judge for yourself by watching the video. Warning: The clip features content
that some viewers might find highly disturbing and offensive.