Pascal Laugier's MARTYRS Hit With 18+ Rating In France

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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Pascal Laugier's MARTYRS Hit With 18+ Rating In France

Without a doubt the single most devisive film to screen in the Cannes Marche Du Film this year was Pascal Laugier's grueling horror picture Martyrs. Though I didn't catch it myself by all accounts it is one of the most violent and troubling films to be made in years. How violent? It has just been hit with an 18+ rating in France. A rarity in France, the rating is the equivalent of an NC17 rating in the USA and will effectively kill the film's financial prospects if it is allowed to stand. The producers, not surprisingly, are appealing. Now, this sort of thing happens all the time with extreme films and the producers are never, ever happy about it but what seems to make this case unusual - at least from my perspective - is that the film makers were not allowed to take the stand at the hearing that imposed the rating. They were not permitted to explain or defend their work and now are labeling the entire process as nothing more than censorship. Hit the link below to read more about the process and come to your own conclusions ...

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Thanks to Mary for the pointer.

Greg ChristieJune 5, 2008 2:10 AM

This is just in response to Mary's comment about the NC-17 rating. You used an incredibly poor example. NC-17 is still most certainly box office death for any film looking for a wide theaterical release.

Lust Caution was a big budget film from academy award winner, Ang Lee that had zero possiblities of drawing a younger audience from the outset.

If Ang Lee didn't have the type of elitist stigma of being artful, and highly revered filmmaker who had previously won an oscar for Brokeback Mountain, a film about homosexuality with semi explicit sex scenes and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon you most certainly would not have seen ads for Lust Caution in the newspaper, or on the television, nor would it have played at your local Regal.

Had Lust Caution been the same exact film made by a first time director without a major studio backing it with pre-oscar buzz, it would have only played art house theaters in major cities with almost no advertising.

There's a fairly decent documentary that was released within the last two years about MPAA and the NC-17 rating. It's pretty educational if you're not already familiar with the ratings board. Although, like most documentaries about cinema, half of the film's running time is devoted the egomanical directors blowing themselves being so "provactive."

maryJune 5, 2008 10:34 AM

Lust Caution isn a big budget film? This movie's budget is only $15 million, which is very low budget for an US production standard.

No only "Lust, Caution", but "The Dreamers" (which had no pre-oscar buzz) also had ads in many newspapers. It was also shown in the theaters of Loews, Regal, AMC.....
Hell, even "Showgirls" opened well at box office; it just had poor box office leg (I think it was because of the terrible reveiews it received, not bacause of its rating)
I think the the effect of NC-17 didn't as big as many people thought.

You talked about "This Film Is Not Yet Rated "? I had seen it; and it didn't had too muhh infos about how NC-17 rating hurt box office.

dilated_in_disbeliefJune 7, 2008 2:32 AM
EpiktJune 7, 2008 6:06 AM

'Saint Ange' was really soft (it was rated -12), an horror movie playing more on the atmosphere than violence. Really aesthetically pleasing.

Horror/violent production is not so large in France, so it will be hard to draw general conclusions, but it seems French directors do not concede their movie to be cut for the theater release, even if they are sure the director's cut will be available on DVD : recently 'A l'intérieur' (I believe it's 'Inside' in English) or 'Frontière(s)' were released uncut on theater (by the way 'Frontière(s)' was really close to a -18 rating). And I don't remember a lot of French movies with different editings due to these kind of censorship.
(I'm personnaly against this pratice. A good way for the studios to make more money from the movie-geeks selling the movie twice, while they can tell the director can make everything he wants ; which is not true).

BlakeJune 7, 2008 1:08 PM

There is an online petition for the film here: