>On our way out of the multiplex the other day, we noticed the rather demure posters for This Film is Not Yet Rated and a banner instructing us to visit IFC.com to see the posters “they wouldn’t let us show you!” Later, in one of our regular moments of online procrastination, we actually remembered to do so.
We’re not sure, but we assume that the “they” preventing you from seeing these posters in a theater lobby is the MPAA, the motion picture industry’s trade association. And, using this instance as just an example, that might not be an entirely bad thing. While we’re as down on censorship as anyone, we’re not so keen on floating out of some dreamy rom-com to be smacked in the eye with a blazing image of seared flesh. (We should probably come clean with the revelation that branding is one of our own personal squick points.) (Come to think of it, both in the physical and in the marketing sense.)
But once we’ve left the town square and plopped down our $10.50 to see a particular film of our own adult-minded choosing, the determination of which images confront us should be left to the creativity of the filmmaker. And the process of classifying what is considered “adult” needs to be made transparent, so that filmmakers and audiences alike know where the line falls, as well as the how and the who behind that determination.
And that’s where This Film is Not Yet Rated comes in. Directed by Kirby Dick–who holds a permanent place in our heart for the sensitive and engaging Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist–the documentary delves into the whimsically arbitrary MPAA rating system and the power it wields over what we’re ultimately allowed to see on the big screen. Featuring the candid anecdotes of such directors as John Waters, Kevin Smith, Matt Stone, Kimberly Pierce and Mary Harron, the film is particularly compelling in its look at the discrepancies in the MPAA’s treatment of sex vs. violence and in an apparent aversion to homosexuality and the depiction of female sexual pleasure.
Opening in NYC and Los Angeles tomorrow, This Film is Not Yet Rated rolls out in several cities in the next weeks. Definitely make the effort to see it.