Saturday, September 02, 2006

See No Evil

If you live in a large, metropolitan area, try to catch This Film is Not Yet Rated while it is still in theaters. Much of the film's subject matter may not be a surprise: the way that the ratings system operates in secrecy with a board of supposedly typical parents, the fact that in practice this system discriminates against gay and lesbian film-makers and censors portrayals of homosexual life and female pleasure, and the generally poor historical record of the MPAA on civil liberties, collective bargaining, economic competition, free culture, and the prevention of violence, particularly against women.

What's original about the film is the literal detective work done to reveal the identities of the MPAA's shadowy group of "mainstream" moralists, which is led by a registered Republican and Jack Valenti appointee. I thought the resourceful PI hired by the documentary-maker is really the heroine of the film. Hilarity also ensues when director Kirby Dick submits his film to the MPAA to be rated, and the board discovers that their names and images have been leaked to the public. Although the section on "piracy," isn't well integrated into the film, there's also some good Lawrence Lessig footage as well. Unfortunately, the MPAA's own unauthorized copying of this critical documentary didn't make it into the cut I saw.

If you're still in a hating mood about censorship, you can also check out the much cruder FCC FU video that was plugged this week on IP Democracy.

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