THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED (Kirby Dick) Rating: NNN
In a country where a president can be impeached for lying about a blow job but not, apparently, for lying about a pretext for war, some people will always want to protect you for your own good. Since 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board has decided who can see what's in U.S. multiplexes.
In This Film Is Not Yet Rated, documentarian Kirby Dick unmasks the MPAA's raters, something that's never been done before. He hires a private detective to run licence plates, take photos, even sift through garbage.
Meanwhile, he assembles the usual suspects: critics, directors (including our own Atom Egoyan) and actors who think the ratings system is stupid, paternalistic and inconsistent. Familiar arguments get trotted out: the system is kinder to studio pics, NC-17 (adults only) ratings are more common for sex than violence, etc.
Some of what Dick uncovers is astounding - for instance, members of the clergy sit in with the appeals board. But aside from being a nifty coup, what does revealing the raters themselves accomplish? So long as society considers a man getting his head blown off less obscene than a woman getting off, the MPAA - and the theatre and retail chains that refuse to carry NC-17 films - will continue to protect you, whether you like it or not. (Bloor Cinema, from January 19)