A Film by any Other Rating is Still a Film

Apparently, it’s been time to play catchup in the realm of documentary film watching. While I watched Czech Dream awhile back, I just checked out This Film is not yet Rated a couple nights ago. This is a good film that digs in to the MPAA ratings board to find out who these anonymous people are and what gives them the right to dictate the ratings to the movies we see.
This movie is good. It started out by stating a lot of things I already knew, but I was happy to have it educate me in a great many more things that I did not know, such as some of the films that were originally NC-17 and then recut to R. It was also interesting to find out that all the blanket statements from the MPAA about the type of people who are on the board, are largely false. For instance, there is only one rater that had children within the young age group that the board states everyone has children in.
It was also interesting to see people dig in to the fact that sex is seen as a bigger problem than violence, which is pretty much the exact opposite in Europe. Apparently when it comes to sex, certain positions are okay, but once you start making the “business” the least bit interesting or show women thoroughly enjoying sex, that throws up red flags. Oh and naturally any kind of gay sex gets the big, “I don’t think so.” from the raters.
But, the biggest shock came with the appeals process when you want to try to get a lower rating than the one given by the board. The fact that there is a Protestant minister and a Catholic priest present was definitely news, but not much of a shock. The real shock was that everyone on the appeals board is in some way a film distributor. So basically, when you are appealing your film, you are not arguing a case to have it released with a lower rating due to a mistake by the raters, but you are in fact arguing to a group, who will decide if it gets a lower rating based on if it is marketable or not and what rating they need to give to hit whatever certain demographic they need to hit.
The unfortunate irony in all of this is that this film was given the NC-17 rating because of all the movies it shows clips from that were rated NC-17. I think that there is almost no swearing in the whole film by the people making it and obviously no nudity. So, the documentary, without the “evil” clips that it shows would actually have been rated damned near G. At some point, I hope that they recut it so that it can somehow be released on TV, since Americans really need to see this and see who it is that dictates morality on the silver screen through this outdated censorship program.
A Film by any Other Rating is Still a Film