This Film Is Not Yet Rated
Spring 2007 Documentary series
Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 7:00pm
Directed by Kirby Dick
Starring Kirby Dick, Becky Altringer, Todd Solondz, John Waters, Darren Aronofsky, Kimberly Peirce, Kevin Smith, Allison Anders, Maria Bello, Atom Egoyan, Mary Harron, Wayne Kramer
Rated 14A ·
Passionate cinephiles can be found casting quizzical glances at the erratic and often conflicting decisions made by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) as they slap ratings onto movies. So in an attempt to make sense of their working methods–which, until now, have remained shrouded in mystery–one of those cinephiles, Kirby Dick (Twist of Faith), has made this full-length motion picture about the inner workings of the MPAA.
Dick begins by examining the MPAA’s set-up as an anonymous group that is exclusively funded by the major Hollywood studios. Fundamentally established to prevent children’s eyes from seeing anything society would consider unsuitable, the MPAA has blossomed into a powerful force, with the difference between an R and an NC-17 rating possibly leading to millions of dollars forfeited at the box office. Actors and directors such as John Waters, Maria Bello, Mary Harron, and Kevin Smith offer their forthright opinions on these decisions, and Dick highlights many of the clips that have fallen foul of the censors. The director also compares and contrasts similar scenes from indie pictures and films produced by major studios, with the latter seemingly allowed far more leniency when it comes to avoiding the dreaded NC-17.
In a wonderful twist that adds a strong narrative structure to the film, Dick hires a private detective to hunt down the MPAA’s members, thereby lifting the curtain on who these shadowy figures actually are. But the real cherry on the top of Dick’s movie is his submission of This Film Is Not Yet Rated to the MPAA, which helps highlight the appeals process, and reveals the involvement of the Catholic Church and major cinema chains across the country. Entertaining and informative, Dick’s movie is everything a documentary should be. Revelations come thick and fast throughout, and the director skillfully creates a palpable feeling of injustice that will leave many viewers feeling the MPAA is in urgent need of a drastic overhaul.