Thursday, August 24, 2006

This Film is Not Yet Rated

I really enjoy exposé films about secret practices, especially when it comes to the media. I was an ardent fan of documentaries like Outfoxed, Who is Alan Smithee?, Boffo and even the underrated Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream, and next weekend another film is opening which continues this tradition.

This Film is Not Yet RatedOn September 1st, This Film is Not Yet Rated shines a bright light onto the governing body of film, the MPAA. For years, the people who decide what movies are rated have been able to hide behind anonymity and vague assertions to make decisions for the public, and on numerous occasions the board has given a lot of mixed signals and seeming preferential treatment given to bigger studios and more powerful directors, because an R-rated movie is commercially-viable, but a rating of NC-17 is in effect, a crippling blow for most movies, and because big studios have so much invested in these movies, they sometimes drastically alter these movies(usually for sexual content) to get them a Restricted rating.

If you've been reading my blog for a while you know that censorship really pisses me off, especially when it is done with a double standard, which it seems the MPAA operates on.

So how did documentarian Kirby Dick shed some light on this cloistered and powerful organization. He hired a private detective agency to gather information on the members so that he could confront a number of them to get a better sense of how decisions are actually made in their chambers, while at the same time talking to directors and actors about their experiences with the MPAA. And because these discussions may have footage that the MPAA already had issue with, it is likely this movie is ironically enough going to receive an NC-17 or have no rating at all, which may drastically impact its distribution. Since censorship is one of my hot-button issues, I thought it was important for me to generate a little more word-of-mouth attention for the film in any little way I could. While I couldn't link to the trailer from the movie's site, I did find it on YouTube, which will give you a good idea of what the movies all about, though I think the theme of who is watching the watchmen is appropriate.

So if you have an interest in seeing the best movies you can or in censorship, I hope you seek this movie out.


Wendy said...

I desperately want to see this movie. I despise the MPAA. I even have a "Stop the MPAA" bumper sticker on my car. I wrote a paper about how unfair the MPAA is for an english class I took a few years ago. There is a link on film geeks if you haven't already read it.

MC said...

From reading that piece I am coming away with the ironic sense that the MPAA was started to avoid local communities making their own arbitrary ratings for movies, and yet by their actions, they have led to online communities doing the same thing. I enjoyed the article immensely.

Personally, I don't like other people making decisions about what is and is not appropriate for me to watch, read, listen to etc.

Jeremy Barker said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this as well. I thim Atom Egoyan is interviewed for it over Where the Truth Lies, which got slapped with the dreaded NC-17 rating that essentially killed the film. Bless the Toronto Film Fest for allowing me to see it and the director:
Please forgive the plug. ;)

MC said...

I was given pause to think over the weekend because of our nation's coast-to-coast network.

I am just trying to imagine an American national broadcast network that would have been able to show Kill Bill Vol. 1 completely uncut at 10PM on a Saturday Night without getting FCC'd to death... because if not for some old-school(though very genre appropriate) black and white for a certain fight sequence... it would have been NC-17 at the theatres.

Talk about a cultural divide eh?