Filmmakers honored for 'Lust, Caution'

The stigmatized NC-17 rating is getting some positive attention.

ShoWest and the National Assn. of Theater Owners have created a Freedom of Expression Award that will go to Ang Lee and James Schamus for allowing their film “Lust, Caution” to be rated NC-17, versus cutting just enough to get an R rating.

Honor will be presented at the upcoming ShoWest exhib confab in Las Vegas.

At last year’s ShoWest, NATO prexy John Fithian called on studios and exhibs to use the NC-17 rating, which is intended to prevent anyone younger than 17 from seeing the film because of graphic content.

“Ang Lee and James Schamus answered that call with ‘Lust, Caution,’ demonstrating uncompromising integrity in their filmmaking and, by accepting the NC-rating, that same integrity in clearly labeling a film intended for adults as what it was,” Fithian said. “The film and movie theater industries can further honor them by following their example.”

“Lust” grossed $4.6 million domestically.

Studios argue privately that it’s just not realistic from a business standpoint to use the rating and that it is better to go for an R.

But parents complain that the R rating has become too broad as a category and that “hard” R movies should actually be rated NC-17, including some of the more graphic horror titles.

The Freedom of Expression Award will be presented at a ShoWest opening luncheon March 11 honoring independent and specialty film.

ShoWest runs March 10-13.

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