Film aims to reveal mysterious MPAA process
January 27, 2006
"This Film Is Not Yet Rated" a Sundance documentary by filmmaker Kirby Dick dives deep into the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) ratings system, a surprisingly mysterious organization that holds a monopoly on the rating system of films. The film examines the many faults and corruption that makes it an unfair and ineffective way to determine what is safe for parents to allow their kids to watch.
The movie brings to light what few outside the film industry ever consider: just who is determining what kids can view? Is it a team of child experts, who are able to determine what exactly what will hurt fragile young minds? No. The MPAA is proud to say that it is a group of normal parents who make the decisions that can cost a film tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue or conversely, make a box-office hit.
According to the filmmakers these are parents who will allow a film to get a rating of "PG-13" when it shows countless people being killed (if they do it in a non-gory way), but will not hesitate to give the infamous NC-17 if a sex scene goes a little to far or is done in a non-traditional way`.
Other important factors that are examined include the unfair treatment of independent film makers, compared to those of the major studios, and includes their first hand accounts that describe the different conditions that they received while working independently compared, for example, to when working with a studio such as Paramount.
The film finally comes down to identifying the mystery men and women who cause filmmakers – especially the independent ones – so much stress, and more importantly, why they are a mystery in the first place.
These are just a few examples of the problems the film examines with the MPAA’s system. "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" received the dreaded NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, however, by the end of the film viewers probably won’t such ratings too seriously.