NYC’s IFC Center Rejects MPAA’s NC-17 Rating For BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

Blue Is The Warmest Color

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.

About Rich Drees 6869 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture.
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Joe Nazzaro
October 25, 2013 10:45 am

Rich, I’m glad you managed to highlight the flaws in the current system by pointing out the sheer idiocy of giving Buffy a rating that would preclude the audience it was made for from seeing it.

Rich Drees
October 25, 2013 10:49 am

Buffy, Joe? ;)

Joe Nazzaro
October 25, 2013 10:52 am

Or BULLY! That was a bizarre Freudian slip. I was only just reading a story about the Buffy comics, so my fingers must have had a mind of their own. Not that a journalist should ever proof-read his own posts…

October 25, 2013 11:20 am

NYC’s IFC Center Rejects MPAA’s NC-17 Rating For BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

Rich Drees
October 25, 2013 9:59 pm

LOL! Actually Joe, your first post had me scrambling to see if I had gotten it wrong!

Joe Nazzaro
October 25, 2013 10:02 pm

I should never post before the second cup of coffee.

Jason A. Quest
October 26, 2013 4:29 am

Jason A. Quest liked this on Facebook.