Regulation In our Film Industry

Film regulation has been a big issue.  Not just recently, but since movies were first displayed in the 1890’s.  The most significant example that comes to mind is the controversy over the movie “The Birth of a Nation” made in 1915.  This was a movie about the Civil War.  It led to protests in the African American due to its “blackface” interpretation of African American slaves, played by white actors, and its “heroic” interpretation of the Ku Klux Klan.  There was a campaign to ban the film from public display but it was unsuccessful without proper media regulations in play.

In modern times, film production is in such a high demand that there has to be an effective way to regulate all the content that is being distributed to theaters and peoples’ homes.  Throughout the history of film, there have been several perspectives at stake making regulation an issue.  There are the filmmakers who want to express their ideas and concepts through the film they are producing.  Depending on the idea they are trying to get across, they may want to use explicit content to evoke a specific emotion in their audience.  Another perspective is the community.  Like I stated earlier, The Birth of a Nation was seen as offensive and oppressive to the black community because of the way it portrayed the Civil War slaves.  This can be said about any film, and all members of the community will have different views on what should be regulated.  Another perspective is the government.  The government focuses on creating regulations that will prevent filmmakers from making films that are too controversial, but also allowing them to express their interests into their films.

I think if the regulation was written by filmmakers we would see a lot of explicit movies.  Since now we have the CARA (Classification and Rating Administration) that adds a rating to every movie filmmakers would probably manipulate the ratings to favor their movie.  By this, I mean that they would give it a lower rating, making it more likely people would see the film, and more likely parents would take their children to see it.

In modern film I don’t see regulation as that big of a threat at the moment, I’m sure something will happen within the next 10-20 years that will re-ignite peoples’ interest in film regulation, but I don’t currently see it as something that needs a lot of work.  Since ratings are applied to movies, parents are able to see what type of content is in movies and therefore can make the best choice for what their children watch.  In a way it regulates it-self.  Filmmakers want as many people to watch their movies as possible, and if the movie has an NC-17 rating, it wont attract as much of an audience as a PG-13 movie, and might not even be shown in theaters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_a_Nation

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/film_censorship.cfm

http://www.mpaa.org/ratings/aboutus

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3 thoughts on “Regulation In our Film Industry”

  1. I think it was interesting how you used a movie that was made such a long time ago as an example of film regulation. It has been around for a long time, and I think a lot of people think it’s more of a recent issue when really it’s not.

  2. I did not realize how long ago film regulation became something people were worried about, but it makes sense that it has been controversial and an important topic of discussion for a long time now. I think that it is important for films to be rated and regulated, if only just so people can know what they are getting themselves into when they or their children go to watch a movie. I agree with you when you say that if regulation was created by the filmmakers it would be taken advantage of. This would not be an effective way of rating movies because the filmmakers would use their power to create more explicit movies at lower ratings, which could be detrimental to viewers. It will be interesting to see if the film rating system changes in the future as filmmakers continue to challenge what is currently accepted in the world of film.

    1. That brings up an interesting point. I think a lot of filmmakers now a days intentionally go for a worse rating because it sends a message that appeals to a certain audience. Within the past couple of years there have been a lot of horror movie releases, and most of them are R rated because people want to see a gory horror movie as opposed to past generations that preferred more of a psychological thriller.

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