The Parents Television Council isn’t pleased with a Manhattan movie theater’s decision to let teens in to screenings of the sexually-explicit, NC-17 French film, Blue is the Warmest Color. The coming-of-age film wowed critics at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the top prize and universal praise for its depiction of a teen lesbian’s struggle with identity and her sexual awakening. (It’s also been extremely controversial, especially after its lead actresses expressed regret over filming some of the scenes.)
Recently, the IFC Center announced that it would ignore the NC-17 rating — a voluntary guideline — and admit teens. “It is our judgment that it is appropriate for mature, inquiring teenagers who are looking ahead to the emotional challenges and opportunities that adulthood holds,” the Center said it a statement.
The PTC, which typically focuses its grievances to television issues — since the government regulates the airwaves — but has often chimed in on matters of the MPAA and cinema, isn’t happy about the IFC Center’s decision. On Wednesday, in an open letter to IFC executive John Vanco, the organization issued a “stern warning” and called on the theater to enforce the MPAA rating and prohibit minors from seeing the movie:
“Simply put, you and the IFC Center are in no position to determine which children are ‘mature’ enough to view explicit sexual content without the presence of a parent or guardian. Whether a child should view explicit sexual content is a decision best left to parents and families, and we strongly object to your theaters’ usurping of their appropriate role.
“Therefore, we call on the IFC Center to immediately begin enforcing the reasonable MPAA guidelines for the NC-17 rating and not allow the admittance of children. This will in no way inhibit those adults who wish to view the film every ability to do so; but it will ensure that parents have the information they need and the industry backing they’ve been promised for more than 50 years.
“The IFC Center’s decision to usurp parental and family authority by allowing unfettered access to children of adult-rated, explicit sexual content is a direct assault on parents and families across the country. Your selective unenforcement of the MPAA guidelines in this instances approaches industrial fraud, in that the system is intended specifically for the purpose of parental reliance, and that reliance has been obviated. Parents must be assured that content ratings are accurate, consistent and transparent, and they must be confident that exhibitors will enforce them appropriately at the theater; otherwise the system is utterly worthless.”
IFC Center has not officially responded to the PTC’s protest, but Vanco did seem to dismiss it on Twitter:
Here’s the film trailer: