When Nicolas Winding Refn debuted his latest feature “Only God Forgives” at the Cannes Film Festival it was met with some mixed reactions. Just by looking around you can find a rainbow of thoughts about the movie ranging from absolute love for the film to utter disgust (read our review here). Now “Only God Forgives” is creating a new divide, and this time it’s causing a political discourse in France.
The dispute seems to hinge on the rating that Refn’s film was given in France. Originally it had been awarded a “16,” which sounds a lot like the “R” rating in the U.S., but seems to carry a heavier impact, as some theaters in France will not carry a rated “16” film. However, the film was then given a more favorable rating of “12.”
This rating change caused a disagreement to erupt between former presidential candidate Segolene Royal and Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti. In France, the Culture Minister awards the certificates to movies based on the advice of a 28-person commission. Royal believes that Filippetti was under heavy pressure from producers to give the Refn film a better rating so that it could have a wider showing in France. In a TV show interview, Royal had this to say about the reclassification: “I regret that Aurélie Filippetti de-classified an ultra-violent film which was originally forbidden for under 16-year-olds. We can’t contaminate youngsters with scenes of extreme violence.”
For now it looks as if Filippetti will have his way and Refn’s “Only God Forgives” will retains its current rating certificate. For those of us here in the states, we’ll be able to judge the soul-corrupting effect of the movie when it hits theaters on July 19th. In the meanwhile, you can enjoy this new character poster from the film, which features Kristin Scott Thomas being bathed in a glow of neon hell. [Moviefone/Screen Daily]