Crix nix pic friction

Chi org seeks peaceful talks in ratings flap

The exec committee of the Chicago Film Critics Assn. has entered the fray over Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut,” calling for dialogue, not discord, between the media and the MPAA.

The committee’s statement, dated July 30, was drafted by several of the 38 CFCA members under the leadership of prexy Dan Gire (a writer for the Chicago Daily Herald). It includes the caveat, “This statement doesn’t necessarily represent the individual views of all CFCA members.”

Decrying censorship of any filmmaker’s work, the executives of the Chicago group emphasize that the jury is still out on whether the digital alteration of 65 seconds of “Eyes” was in fact censorship.

“Additional issues demand discussion in reference to the controversy,” they wrote. “The filmmaker’s collaborators, and possibly the director himself, agreed to produce an R-rated version of ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ ”

Pact ‘with the devil’

The CFCA further asserts that by agreeing to a specific MPAA rating, the filmmakers in effect forfeited their final cut of the movie. Such an arrangement, they note, radically compromises issues of censorship.

Like their New York and Los Angeles counterparts, the Chicago critics weighed in against the MPAA ratings, calling for theatrical exhibitors to “honor their contract with America’s parents to guard against underage children attending R-rated movies.”

Exhibitors, they believe, should not be pressured by market or political forces into rejecting NC-17 films, nor should media and ancillary media outlets reject such films.

The Chicago critics’ note ends with a plea to stop the “finger-pointing” and begin a “mature dialogue between Hollywood and the media.”

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