Film Regulation

Blog Post #2

 Film Regulation

 Since the beginning of film, there has been much controversy about what you can and cannot put in a film.  For a long time now, filmmakers have been continuously trying to push boundaries and express themselves in their films.  The first films were viewed in a small theater known as nickelodeon (the name coming from the cost of admission and the Greek term “Odeion” which was a theater with a roof).  Overtime varies states began to set up censorship boards.  There is a heavy debate about these censorship boards because different people have different opinions on what should and shouldn’t be shown in a film or on television.

Film regulation took off in 1922 and still is very apparent today.  It started as just a list of topic that would be banned from film including slavery, sex hygiene and diseases, childbirth, etc.  “In this day and age, a kiss on film could last no longer than 3 seconds and couples slept in different beds” (Thornsburg, 2011).  It is so interesting to compare this to how movies are now-a-days. 

This censorship view of film began to crumble in the 50’s when the US Supreme Court ruled that films were protected by the constitution as “free speech”.  After this, Hollywood abandoned their strict code of film regulation and set up the ratings board that is still in use today. 

There are several sides to this argument.  There are the filmmakers who want to be able to make their film an “art” form and not have to think about the conservative crowd bashing their film.  There are the distributers who want to make money off of great films that may not appear appropriate to all people, and there are the viewers, who have different views of what is right and wrong to be in a film for all to see. The distributors benefit from all types of successful movies, as well as the filmmakers.  A filmmaker can make a very inappropriate movie his/her art form and distribute it for the world to see, benefitting from this.  On the other hand, viewers who don’t agree with the movies morals and values are then constrained by it. 

It is very interesting to look back and see how much the film industry has changed since the beginning of nickelodeon.  I my opinion, this debate is a balancing act.  Today, when renting or buying movies there are often two versions of a movie, the rated version and the unrated version.  This allows for a balance in film regulation, allowing views that like the unrated version to select it and views who like the rated to select the opposite. 

The future of film is not going to be easy with the government and parents trying to regulate content.  The hardest aspect for these parties is keeping adult content away from children.  The current rating system in theaters as well as rated vs. unrated movies will hopefully continue to be successful in this balancing act.

Sources:

http://voices.yahoo.com/film-regulation-censorship-7274840.html?cat=37

http://entertainmentlaw.uslegal.com/film-industry/film-regulation/

https://www.aclu.org/files/multimedia/censorshiptimeline.html

 

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