Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Freedom of Blah

I watched This Film is Not Yet Rated last night; for those who don't know of it, it's a documentary that sets itself up as an "expose" of the US film ratings board, the MPAA, and also as a kind of attack on censorship. Basically it's lots of talking heads getting uppity and self-righteous and muttering words like "fascist" and "unconstitutional" while making fun of conservatives.

I dunno. I find it hard to get myself worked up about freedom of speech issues, especially when what we're talking about is not the imprisonment and torture of journalists or political or religious leaders, but the slight inconvenience of film-makers who hate people interfering in their artistic vision - which usually involves showing women's naughty bits and 'unconventional' sex scenes. I mean, I like women's naughty bits and unconventional sex as much as the next man, but I've never watched a non-porn film and wished that it had more of those things - that sort of scene in a film has always struck me as a rather sleezy peek into the sex-life (and fantasy life) of the director, which I can frankly do without.

I suppose the thing that immediately switches my moral indignation off is the fact that what the film was really about was money: the directors interviewed made great play of their wounded auteurship, but the biggest gripe seemed to be that the MPAA was too strict in rating films NC-17, and this hurts a flick's ability to reel in the cash. Films rated R can get lots of ads, trailers and posters, you see, but those rated NC-17 are often inadequately publicised because of questionable content. This obviously makes it more difficult for the film-maker to generate income.

In other words, it's not that the MPAA censors films. (They don't.) It's that they make recommendations about how to make cuts, so a film can become an R rather than an NC-17. Film-makers don't like that; they'd rather the MPAA collude with them and give the rating that allows them to make the most money, and that's what it boils down to.

Fuss over nothing? Right on.

1 comment:

mattiecore said...

I actually completely agree with your sentiment on this...