This Film is Not Yet Rated
Posted by Ray
The title of this post is the title of an interesting film I saw last night – This Film is Not Yet Rated. The film came out in September 2006 in the UK, so I’m a little behind the times, but this is a fascinating documentary about the MPAA and the US film ratings. Do you know which rule states when a film goes from an R rating to an NC-17 rating? Nope, me either. Interestingly, according to the documentary, the MPAA either doesn’t know or doesn’t want anyone else to know.
The MPAA comprises 7 media companies and members of each company sit on the board. The film shows that the board is biased towards violent films (violent films tend to get an R rating) and against sex – homosexual acts in particular as they tend to get an NC-17 as against an R for heterosexual sex. The board, at the time the film was made, would not disclose any names of raters, only the head (Joan Graves at the time). This is to prevent them being influenced by film makers. Odd since the film makers made up the MPAA and effectively run it.
It also showed the draconian appeals system – those on the appeals board are anonymous even at the appeal and filmmakers appealing against their rating cannot cite other similar film’s ratings to help their case. There are also 2 church representatives on the appeals board, for some odd reason. They may or may not vote at the appeal, but they can make comment during deliberations.
To be honest, it surprised me and shocked me. The US tends to be very against “big government” and would rather be self-regulating, but this really highlights a case where the system does not work. The fox is in charge of the henhouse and the decisions made are very inconsistent.
Watch this if you have ever wondered why one film received an R rating, but another less violent film received an NC-17.
For comparison, see the UK censor’s site www.BBFC.co.uk and look at the downloads section where you can see the guidelines for film makers in PDF form. You can also see reasons why, for example, ‘Star Wars Episode II – Attack Of The Clones’ received a one second cut to remove footage of a head butt. We also know that . And, more importantly, you as a concerned viewer is able to contact the BBFC to ask for the reasons a particular film or game received a rating.
The official site for the movie (an independent film which received an NC-17 rating), can be found at http://www.ifc.com/films?aId=18019