This Film Is Not Yet Rated (USA; 100 min.)


directed by: Kirby Dick
documentary
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
 
Michael says: "This entertaining, well-constructed film examines the origins, roles, and corruption of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the organization that provides films with their ratings. Dick is thorough in his investigation. He interviews dozens of filmmakers about their experiences with the MPAA. Among those featured are Kimberly Pierce recounting her experiences with BOYS DON'T CRY; John Waters with more hilarious yet highly focused and intelligent commentary; Maria Bello discussing the dangers of pubic hair; Atom Egoyan revealing one of the key bits of information; as well as Allison Anders, Darren Aronofsky, Kevin Smith, Mary Harron, Jamie Babbit, Matt Stone, and many more. He talks to lawyers and other experts in the field. Part of THIS FILM is a bit of a detective story, where Dick hires a private investigator to discover the identities of the secret ratings board. The information Becky uncovers is shocking. In a lovely subtle moment, Becky talks about her personal life in a way that connects strongly with the subject matter of the film. In what is perhaps the film's most ingenious twist, Dick submits his own film to the ratings board for approval. By the end of the film, any indie film buff should be suitably outraged. For an informative, entertaining, surprising and challenging film, THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED is a real winner, and my #1 film of the festival. I'd like to make this film required viewing for Chlotrudis members. 5 cats"
 

Bruce says: "In 1968 the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) decided to use a voluntary rating system to prevent outsiders from passing judgment on the film industry. At that time there were dozens of groups around the country rating films and government interference was imminent. In ways it was a brave and ingenious move. A formal rating system followed in 1978 and is still functioning today. When the system became formalized some change were made to the rating system; for example, films were no longer rated X because that rating became associated with pornography.

"Thirty countries have rating systems; the MPAA is the only rating system that won’t disclose who is doing the rating. In THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED director Kirby Dick decides the time has come to know who is making decisions about what some Americans can or cannot see. So he hires a detective to find out who is rating our films. The big issue is the NC-17 rating. Most newspapers across the country will not advertise a NC-17 film; many video stores will not stock NC-17 films. What irks filmmakers the most is the strict and irrational approach to sex scenes vs. a lenient approach to violence. We witness a fully clothed female masturbation scene in BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER that gets a NC-17 then see Jason Briggs’ bare ass as he shags a pie on a kitchen counter top in AMERICAN PIE, rated PG-13. GUNNER PALACE, a documentary about American soldiers in Iraq was rated NC-17 because of the repeated us of 'fuck,' a big no-no with the raters. That’s how soldiers talk, but it seems the kids who hear the F word everyday at school must be protected from the horrible realities of war. It makes no sense. THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED also points out that it is the independent films that suffer most from the rating system.

"Kirby has made a very entertaining and informative film. He gets his arms around his subject while giving a wink to his audience. He uses animation to describe the rating system. He interviews many filmmakers and Hollywood insiders like Jack Valenti former head of the MPAA. Particularly articulate are BOYS DON’T CRY director Kimberly Pearce and Maria Bello, star of THE COOLER, whose pubic hair offended the raters. John Waters absolutely steals the show. Interspersed with the interviews is the ongoing detective work which includes a funny visit to the local Spy Shop and often hilarious shots of the actual spy work.

"Joan Graves, who now heads the rating group at MPAA, claims that the raters are all concerned parents of children 5-17. Kirby, by the end of his film, is able to prove that statement false. Be sure to sit through the credits for the film’s punch line. 5 cats

"THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED was screed at the 2006 Provincetown International Film Festival."

 

Chris says: "I approached this documentary with some skepticism, given the hype and glowing praise a number of Chlotrudis members have given it. Well, believe the hype--this is an absorbing film that will resonate with anyone who champions independent cinema. Director Kirby Dick has made a smart, provocative and ultimately disturbing expose of the MPAA. He examines the organization from all angles, using everything from the infographics and talking heads interviews to hiring a private eye to reveal a slew of alarming discrepancies between what the censors think we should see and what the public actually wants. His investigation is balanced yet intensely personal. The result is like a Michael Moore film without the cheap shots and incessant narcissism. Don't miss it. 5 cats"

Chadd replies: "What... you didn't believe us Chris? :-)

"This is one of those films that ANYONE who is passionate about films should see. It's a very important subject in the world of (American-screened) films presented in a
thoughtful and witty manner. This is required viewing-- plain and simple.

"Post-Script: John Waters steals the show- like everywhere else I've seen him."

 
Beth Caldwell says: "This film is now one of my favorite documentaries of all time. We were cheering in the audience at certain key scenes. I think it's excellent that the system is being exposed and the filmmakers succeeded in providing us with important truths we never knew about ratings and did so in a way that was thoroughly entertaining. well done! 5 cats"