talktooloose: (marvel_boy)
I found the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated at the library and thought it would be a mildly diverting if incestuous look at the world of movie rating in the US.

I had no idea!

The MPAA, a secret board, has the fate of so much culture in their greasy little fingers! Things I learned:

  • If a film gets an NC-17 rating instead of an R, it's unlikely to get onto any but a handful of screens and that can also bugger its international distribution because it was less successful in the States.
  • The MPAA has a whole building full of lobbyists in Washington (compared to Apple, for instance, who has one in a rented office) and they work non-stop to get copyrights extended, piracy laws enhanced and to prevent the development of consumer electronic technology in any way that does not directly benefit them. For instance, your next TV may be unable to play any content that they don't deem legit.
  • While violence, often misogynist violence, gets PG-13 ratings, sex is much more frequently censored. While this is common knowledge, the details are interesting. In several cases, a woman having a long, vivid orgasm (camera on her face) had to be cut to get the movie from NC-17 to R. In one case, her pained face on penetration was apparently fine, but her subsequent ecstatic face was not. And queer sex? See below.
  • When your film gets a rating, you can submit a new version but they won't tell you what earned you the higher rating in the first place. You have to guess.
  • When you appeal a decision you may not quote precedent: "But they did exactly that in such-and-such a film and it was PG-13!" "That comment is out of order."

The following video clip is from a section that demonstrated the homophobic bias of the reviewers. On the left are clips from queer-themed movies which were rated NC-17. On the right is the same sex act in an R-rated het movie.

Thar be NSFW smut and injustice!

If you want to share this clip, please copy it to your own server and do not hotlink to it. Thank you.

The movie is also hilarious as they hire a team of detectives to identify the secret board members. Lots of great interviews from Matt Stone, John Waters, Kimberly Peirce, Atom Agoyan, Kevin Smith and more who have been through the ratings mill.

June 2012

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