Friday, November 19, 2010

Film Ratings, Violence, Nudity, Blue Valentine, Changing a Culture... My Mumblings...

There are three films I wante to see at NOFF (Mew Orleans Film Festival) in October. Welcolme to the Riley's, 127 Hours and Blue Valentine (ok 4, Black Swan but I don't think it finally got added to the list) Sadly, I didn't get to see them all because I was headed to Vegas for my 30th birthday and the timing overlapped.

There has been good buzz about all these movies, but one that has been a hot topic lately is Blue Valentine staring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The MPAA has given it a NC17 rating because of a particular love scene which they deem to be inapproporiate.

This idea of ratings is always of interest to me because, for one, I think the MPAA does a shitty job of it in many cases. I have gone into a movie with my daughter and left having to explain a number of things I wouldn't have wanted to discuss to a 7 year old, just yet.

I find in American culture, violence, especially against women, is too accepted in film, whereas nudity is not. Somehow blowing up someone's head is ok, but boobs are not? What is so wrong about sensuality but ok with torturous violence?

In Canada, however, nudity is far more accepted, in fact, you can catch it on regular cable late evenings, whereas violence is less acceptable. There is, in particular, rules against showing violence against women. So lot's of boobs and less blowing up of body parts.

In Europe, similar to Canada, there is more acceptance in showing nudity, there are commercials for skin lotion that hage nude women demonstrating!


@Larry411 tweeted press release where TWC Co-Chair Harvey Weinstein discusses the issue:

“While we respect the MPAA, I think we can all agree that we are living with an outdated ratings system that gives torture porn, horror and ultraviolent films the same rating as films with so-called inappropriate language,” explains Weinstein.

I could not agree more!!!

I have not seen Blue Valentine yet, but I know quite a few that have and they agree that an NC17 seems harsh. Furthermore, those involved in the film disagree with the rating and are fighting it. The debate (and the rating) is based on one love scene.

BLUE VALENTINE, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, in a film already acclaimed by critics, tells the honest and personal story of a troubled marriage, and yet apparently drew an NC-17 due to one scene, a sexually intimate sequence between a married couple trying to repair their broken relationship

Lainey writes:

So you know about this business with the MPAA. Blue Valentine has been given an NC17 rating because of a sex scene between a married couple that they feel is too real. Not in the porn sense or anything, I mean it’s not like you can study her labia, but these people, they share an intense, and frustrating, and very emotionally authentic moment. This is apparently much more offensive than seeing a woman violated in an action film.

The Weinstein Company is appealing the decision. In support of the appeal, the film’s two leads have offered their comments. Read Ryan Gosling’s position, and then try to convince me you can still stand up.

“You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.”

Please. How many other men can turn you on in a WRITTEN STATEMENT?

Here’s what Michelle Williams had to say:

“The MPAA’s decision on Blue Valentine unmasks a taboo in our culture, that an honest portrayal of a relationship is more threatening than a sensationalized one. Mainstream films often depict sex and violence in a manner that is disturbing and very far from reality. Yet, the MPAA regularly awards these films with a more audience friendly rating, enabling our culture’s desensitization to violence, rape, torture and brutality. Our film does not depict any of these attributes. It’s simply a candid look at the difficulties couples face in sustaining their relationships over time. Blue Valentine opens a door for couples to have a dialogue about the everyday realities of many relationships. This film was made in the spirit of love, honesty and intimacy. I hope that the MPAA will hear our pleas and reconsider their decision.”

First, I agree, Gosling makes me hot with written words, spoken words, a smile, a still photo, gah!

Second, I hope they examine this rating (and all ratings for that matter) and resolve it.

There needs to be clearer guidelines on the ratings. I think if they can rate a love scene NC17 and beating up a woman PG-13 then there is a serious issue in the system!

Ultimately, I will watch what I want, regardless of the rating, but there are many who do not and I think the rating system should be a more accurate depiction of the film's content.

Moreover, I think re-examining socities views and perspective on what is acceptable and what is not should be a more important goal, but clearly this task is larger than one movie or one lawsuit. It is a change in culture and an attempt to eliminate or lessen the desensitization society experiences because of the overload of violence and aggression in film.

Just Me?

Feel free to comment....


30 said...

I agree with you Mandy. Great article, and it seems to me smaller films with less money always get hit the hardest.

Also The Last Exorcism was PG13 and that was very scary and mentally upsetting. I never will never understand why here in the US love making is looked upon as "dirty" Even in the minds of some pl who watch. OMG there's sex?? Its like, sex is a beautiful passionate action why is that a problem?

prstlk said...

I am in total agreement with you Mandy.

How many times have you heard of kids in court on trial for violent acts saying that they were only copying what they saw on TV or in the movies! Even some of the Law and Order and CSI shows on TV are what I feel are a little over the top for violence and they are on in prime time.

I don't get to a lot of movies but I have felt the rating system needs updated for a long time. Kids today have already seen pretty much everything by the time they are 13 years old through sexting and having data packs on their cell phones where they can get on the internet all of the time.

MCAA needs to get their head out of the sand and join the real world!