French censor eyes festival pics

Ratings body wishes to extend powers

The French Commission for Film Classification wants to extend its powers to include rating festival pics.

The commission has asked the Culture Ministry to deny fests the exemption that allows them to dodge the age restrictions placed on pics in general release.

The commission does not have the authority to cut films but can ask the Culture Ministry not to issue a permit for theatrical release.

Explicit sexual content is of little concern in France, but excessive violence ismore of a problem.

In its annual report, the body reported that of 1,087 films viewed in the past year, 1,031 were deemed suitable for all audiences. Thirty-nine films were forbidden to under those 12 and 16 to those under 16. Only one film, “Saw III,” was restricted to those 18 and older.

The report has been released amid a heated debate in France about censorship. The last overhaul of the national classification system occurred in 1990.

Last week, the commission whipped up a storm by ruling that Romanian abortion drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, is suitable for all audiences. Pic will be released Aug. 29 with a warning for “sensitive viewers” and the suggestion that children be accompanied by an adult.

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