Manhattan’s IFC Center have decided to ignore the MPAA’s rating for the Eric Snowden documentary Citizenfour. Stating that “the film is appropriate viewing for mature adolescents,” the theater will be “admit high school-aged patrons at [their] discretion.”
The news comes via TechDirt, who provided this photo from outside the ticket booth at the theater’s downtown box office.
This is not the first time that the IFC Center has disregarded an R rating from the MPAA. The theater is already waiving the R rating for Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, with the same rationale that both “films are appropriate viewing for mature adolescents.” Last year, they opened up their doors for adolescents to see the French coming-of-age drama Blue Is The Warmest Color, which the MPAA gave a NC-17 rating due to its graphic lesbian love story. In 2012, the AMC theater chain ignored the MPAA’s rating on the documentary Bully, arguing that the very teens who would be excluded by the R rating that the MPAA gave the film are the ones who should see the film the most.
IFC’s actions speak to two things. The first is a reminder that the ratings system is entirely voluntary, with the weight of no law behind it to back it up. And second, the MPAA’s rating system is a broken one that frequently awards lighter ratings to films produced by the member studios of the organization versus the harsher, and more economically restrictive, ratings given to films from independent studios.