New York City’s IFC Center is rejecting the Motion Picture Association of America’s NC-17 rating for the film Blue Is The Warmest Color.
In a statement, John Vanco, the IFC Center’s senior VP and general manager, explained why the theater was going to ignore the rating, which would have forbidden anyone under trhge age of 17 from f=seeing the film, and allow “high school age patrons” access.
This is not a movie for young children, but it is our judgment that it is not inappropriate for mature, inquiring teenagers who are looking ahead to the emotional challenges and opportunities that adulthood holds.
Blue Is The Warmest Color opens today in Los Angeles and New York City and will roll out to other theaters over the next several weeks.
The MPAA’s rating for the film was no surprise. As Kirby Dick pointed out in his 2006 documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, the MPAA takes a dim view on depictions of homosexuality and almost always assigns films with such depictions harder ratings than films containing similar heterosexual depictions. Blue Is The Warmest Color caused a bit of a stir at Cannes this year over its frank story of a lesbian relationship, including several scenes of reportedly intense and graphic scenes of lesbian lovemaking. It did win the festival’s coveted Palme d’Or prize.
Additionally, the film is being distributed by the indie Sundance Selects, who is not a dues-paying member of the MPAA, so it will invariably be receiving a harsher, and more economically damaging, rating than the film would if it were being released by one of the major studios who contribute to the MPAA’s coffers.
We should note that despite what the MPAA might like you to think, the ratings system is entirely voluntary and theaters are under no legal obligation to the MPAA to enforce their decisions. Now granted, many chains flatly refuse to exhibit any film rated NC-17, regardless of the individual merits of any one film. Local obscenity laws could perhaps be brought to bear on theaters seeking to exhibit the film and it was that fear that lead one Iowa arthouse to cancel their plans to bring the film to their audiences due to one such local ordinance.
At this point I don’t think that there is any way to refute the fact that the rating system continues to be broken. The ridiculous R rating given to The King’s Speech and the initial R-rating that the group gave to the documentary Bully, which threatened to exclude the vary audience of teenagers it was made for, are just two of the recent and more public gaffs made by the organization. I am sure there will be more in the future.
Via New York Times.