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In a rare and refreshing reversal of roles, filmmakers put the powerful Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA for short) under the microscope for inspection in Academy Award-nominated director Kirby Dick's incisive look at stateside cinema's most notorious non-censoring censors. Compelled by the staggering amount of power that the MPAA ratings board wields, the filmmaker seeks out the true identities of the anonymous elite who control what films make it to the multiplex. He even goes so far as to hire a private investigator to stake out MPAA headquarters and expose Hollywood's best-kept secret. Along the way, Dick speaks with numerous filmmakers whose careers have been affected by the seemingly random and sexual-content obsessed judgments of the MPAA, including John Waters, Mary Harron, Darren Aronofsky, Kevin Smith, Matt Stone, and Atom Egoyan. Written by
Since the Hays Code, filmmakers have had a lot more freedom over the content of their films. However, the MPAA ratings board still does exercise a certain de facto censorship power. Most people do not realize this.
"This Film is not Yet Rated" exposes the arbitrariness, secrecy, and bias of the MPAA ratings board and makes the viewer question why movies receive the ratings they do.
Kirby Dick puts together a nice cross-section of directors and "talking heads" who discuss the MPAA ratings board's biases when it comes to realism, sex, violence, gay themes, and other taboo issues in films.
Dozens of major directors have had problems with the MPAA ratings board
they either received the NC-17 (or the old "X") rating or had to cut
their films to meet the requirements of the ratings board. Some examples are: Kubrick, Tarantino, Lynch, Woo, Friedkin, Peckinpah, Aronofsky, and countless others.
This film exposes the fact that the ratings board is made up of people who are given NO criteria and NO training for rating films, so they basically use their own personal (and obviously heavily biased) judgments to decide what rating a particular movie should receive.
This is an important film because so few people realize how movies are rated in the U.S. Even fewer realize how problematic (biased, anti-democratic, non-transparent, not accountable) our system is.
It is also well put together, so it is easier to watch than most documentaries.
I would have liked to have heard more comparisons between the U.S. rating system and others worldwide, something that was only briefly touched upon.
9 out of 10
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