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Raw, Red Turtle and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

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By Chris Kavan - 09/07/16 at 09:42 AM CT

Well, for the first time since I started this blog covering the weekly MPAA Ratings Bulletin, there is not a single wide-release film getting a rating. I could just shrug it off and go with the standard list, but where is the fun in that? This gives me an opportunity to cover some films that might not get into major theaters, but that, in my mind, should be given some extra coverage none-the-less. One film that intrigues me is from first-time full-length feature animated film director Michael Dudok de Wit. The man was contacted by the legendary Studio Ghibli after his short film (Father and Daughter) premiered in Japan - they wanted to work with him on a full-length feature and he was a bit surprised, but obviously took the offer. The other film up for review is going to premiere (in the US) at this year's Fantastic Fest and concerns a vegan young woman, subject to hazing at the veterinarian's school she is attending, where she develops an unhealthy fascination with meat. A combination body-horror, coming-of-age and bonding - a combination that sounds both intriguing and terrifying. Otherwise, there are plenty of other limited release films coming soon.

MPAA Official Logo

As I said, Dudok de Wit was taken by surprise by the offer to direct a full-length feature for Studio Ghibli, but he has delivered with the dialogue-free Red Turtle. The film follows the life of a castaway on a deserted island populated by turtles, crabs and birds. Based on the poster, he also manages to start a family. Now, I have been a huge fan of Studio Ghibli since I first caught Princess Mononoke and have never turned back. While Red Turtle has its own animation style, I think it will fit right in with their catalog of unique and powerful titles. Without any dialogue, the film is obviously going to rely on visuals to tell its story - a bold move but, based on the early first trailer, one that may very well pay off. I can see why this isn't going to go wide, this isn't exactly a typical animated film. Still, its PG rating (for some thematic elements) suggest that families would be welcome, but I think it will fly under the radar but wouldn't be surprised to see it on the Oscar short list for Best Animated Feature.

On the other side of the spectrum is another first-time direction, that of Julia Ducournau. Taking place at a veterinarian school, a young girl who has lived her life as a vegan is forced to partake in a hazing ritual involving a rabbit kidney and it awakens something primal and fierce inside of her. Yes, Raw is the type of horror film that I love to dive into. It has shades of Ginger Snaps, Carrie and (according the Fantastic Fest write-up) Suspira and In My Skin. While I haven't seen In My Skin (yet, I think I'll add it to my list) - the others are all classics in my mind and if Raw can capture a bit of that spirit, it is going to be a triumph. Combine the gore with the awkward life of a social outcast yet bonding with a sister - Raw isn't going to appeal to everyone's taste, but I think it looks fascinating and hope it gains enough traction that I can see it one day. Rated R for aberrant behavior, bloody and grisly
images, strong sexuality, nudity, language and drug use/partying (wow, what a gas! - I wonder exactly what "aberrant behavior" amounts to?).

Anyway, thanks for taking a walk inside my psyche to see what kind of films get my motor running. Hopefully next week we can count on a few bigger films. If not, well, I'm always game to explore the lesser-known side of cinema. Here's the complete MPAA Rating Bulletin:


Rated PG-13 for some drug material, sexuality and language.


Rated R for violence involving sexual assault, disturbing sexual content, some grisly images, brief graphic nudity, and language.


Rated R for crude sexual references and language throughout, and some drug use.


Rated R for pervasive drug content, language throughout and some sexuality/nudity.


Rated R for sexuality/nudity and some language.


Rated R for some language.


Rated R for aberrant behavior, bloody and grisly images, strong sexuality, nudity, language and drug use/partying.


Rated PG for some thematic elements and peril.


Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language and brief drug use.


Rated R for sexual references throughout.


Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including some disturbing images, and brief sexuality.


Rated R for violence, terror and some language.


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