Tag Archives: film mpaa

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Last night, i went to see This Film Is Not Yet Rated (and the director Kirby Dick) over at USC. I had wanted to see the movie since Cory reviewed it on BoingBoing. Wow.

While most people i’ve talked to are fascinated with the legal (copyright, first amendment, etc.) issues involved, what i really enjoyed was the portrayal of how we leverage protectionist rhetoric and “child safety” to uphold hegemonic moral values that will aid industry. This isn’t actually about the children; it’s about maintenance of power. One of the sections that really highlights this is a discussion on how the MPAA handles violence. Glorified violence (a.k.a. no blood) is PG-13 while imagery that shows the consequences of violence (a.k.a. blood) is R. In a country that is at war and with a generation of soldiers who think that war is like a video game, this bugs the shit out of me. God do i worry about those kids coming back – they’re not doing so well.

Mechanical sex is R while sex that shows female pleasure is NC-17. Heterosexual interactions are PG-13 while homosexual interactions are R. What values are we upholding here? For me, it was particularly compelling to hear the director of Boys Don’t Cry speak. I saw a pre-release viewing of that film with an audience of queer and transgendered folks. I started crying during the opening credits. In depicting the brutality that queer and trans folks experience, that movie broke my heart. And for that reason, i wish that i could get every teen on the planet who’s screaming faggot this and faggot that to watch it. I was ecstatic when Swank won the Oscar. I was horrified to learn that it was rated NC-17 for sexual pleasure and the rape scene (but not for the brutal violence). While i find rape scenes horrifying, most movies fail to show just how devastating being raped is; it’s simplified, pretty-ified. There’s nothing pretty about it in “Boys Don’t Cry.” It’s realistic and heartbreaking, the kind of thing that should be shown precisely because it is anti-glorifying.

Anyhow, go watch the film. It’s worth it.