The documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006) sets out to expose the randomness of the American film ratings system, as practiced by the MPAA. It’s a good film, because it sheds light on the power the board of the MPAA, and how arbitrary many of their decisions seem to be. It highlights how odd the MPAA’s criteria can be, in an example from American Psycho director Mary Harron that would’ve been deeply hilarious, if it weren’t such a challenge to the American value of free speech; Harron was told that the board had no problems whatsoever with the very graphic violence in the film. What earned it its NC-17 rating was a rather unexciting threesome sex scene early in the film. So, why is it that the MPAA reacts so much stronger to explicit sex, that being expression of personal passion and lust, than to the very graphic slaughter of more than a dozen people?
This film is not a thesis, and thus it doesn’t attempt to answer the question, but the simple fact that the question is posed, is welcome. Don’t you ever tell me that watching fake sex between consenting adults is generally more mentally or physically crippling to young impressionable minds than the inconsequential violence of mainstream Hollywood action flicks. I won’t buy it.
On a side note, it is no surprise to learn that depiction of gay sex is generally earning a film a stricter rating than films containing comparable amounts of sex between straight people. No wonder young gays have to turn to porn. The film company will not risk the depiction of normal gay activies, for fear of offending the MPAA or the audience.
I was upset after watching the film. It’s yet another example of institutionalized biogtry in the U.S. Clips that might get a PG rating if the scene involved straight people instead receive R or even worse NC-17. Sad really.
Yeah. The only thing more crippling to artistic freedom would be self-censorship.