F.I.L.M. of the Week (April 16, 2015)

16 04 2015

This Film Is Not Yet RatedWhen I was in eighth grade, I wrote a research paper on the controversies surrounding the MPAA and the ratings system they provide for the film industry.  As you might imagine, the sources on this topic were somewhat limited.  Much of the information I utilized came from news sites reporting on Kirby Dick’s documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” which had been released the previous fall.

It took me a few years after the paper to finally catch up with my treasured source – keep in mind, Netflix and other video streaming services were not common back in 2007 – and it did not disappoint.  Dick’s film, equal parts salacious journalism and savvy social commentary, is an urgent watch for all those who care about censorship and artistry.  By pulling back the curtain on a major force that shapes the content of cinema, Dick’s documentary is a more than deserving “F.I.L.M. of the Week.”

The film may be most famous now for the guerilla tactics employed to discern the identities of the members of the mysterious MPAA ratings board; Dick and private investigator Becky Altringer use some rather drastic techniques to get their targets.  This component of the film makes for good entertainment, sure.

But “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” is so much more than just a behind-the-scenes look at an explosive story.  Dick conducts interviews with a number of famous filmmakers who have endured notorious and public battles with the ratings agency which really serve to drive home the idea that this is an issue for everyone.  It affects our entire culture and the art it produces.  The board may claim to be reflecting the society, but they really do more to perniciously shape it.  Just watch for yourself … and hope that one day there’s a sequel.  Ten years ought to be long enough, right?!



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