At The Movies

MPAA Slaps Bruno With NC-17 for Gay Sex Scene

bruno

When Borat first hit the desk of the Motion Picture Association of America, Sacha Baron Cohen was handed a NC-17 rating. He lobbied it down to a R, and still managed to include the gratuitous scene of him wrestling with the fat guy. Naked. Well, history repeats itself with Bruno, Cohen’s gay fashionista follow-up. Blame a butt sex scene.

Its first time out, Bruno, about a gay Austrian “fashionpolizei” TV host, also snagged a NC-17 rating. Hilarious, but it’s a death sentence for a film, restricting not just who can see it but which theatres will show it; most cinemas refuse to screen flicks with ratings above R. That, and distributor Universal will refuse to release it unless Cohen gets it down to a R.

So now Cohen & Co. have to cut enough footage to make the MPAA happy.

Likely on the chopping block? A scene where Bruno “appears to have anal sex with a man on camera.” And the scene where “the actor goes on a hunting trip and sneaks naked into the tent of one of the fellow hunters, an unsuspecting non-actor.”

Now, what are the over-unders on, if the anal sex scene were a depiction of a man and woman having sex, the MPAA wouldn’t have got so upset?

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7 Comments

  • Alec

    It depends on how graphic the scene is. This came up when Todd Solondz did his film Storytelling. There was a graphic anal sex scene with Selma Blair (a heterosexual anal sex scene) and they wouldn’t permit that, either. He opted to censor it (in a very obvious way, blocking the viewer’s image of the scene with a giant shade of red).

    Sometimes this all seems very erratic though. In Brokeback Mountain there was a scene between Ledger and Williams that passed the censors.

  • kevin (not that one)

    NC-17 rating also restricts how the film can be marketed…such as on radio and in print.

    I recommend everyone sees “This Film is Not Yet Rated” for insight on the rating process and who the raters are. It’s pretty shocking how the system works and who is doing the rating.

    However, if they cut a few scenes to get it down to “R” for the cinemas, couldn’t they just include the cut scenes on the DVD? Does Netflix carry NC-17?

  • David S.

    They wouldn’t bother releasing a DVD under NC-17. They would just make an “unrated” release, and Netflix carries plenty of unrated content.

  • burton21

    Sure, the graphic and horrifying rape scene in “Last House on the Left” was appropriate for an R rating, but consensual male sex is not. This is an obvious and deliberate instance of homophobia.

  • Duffman

    I’m guessing the scene was pretty crude judging from Borat, so I think it’s overreaching to claim homophobia here.

    That said, I do think that gay sex makes most straight people pretty uncomfortable – even people that otherwise support gay rights don’t really want to think about it.

  • vernonvanderbilt

    It’s pretty well documented that queer content is judged more harshly than non-queer content by the MPAA troglodytes. They’re slowly starting to evolve on the issue, but they’re still at least a generation or two behind the times.

    All the cut bits will return for the DVD anyway, so it’s hardly catastrophic. It’s just a shame that self-righteous prudery can be permitted to infringe on artistic license and free speech.

  • Attmay

    Reason #4,378 why I’m prejudiced against heterosexuals.

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