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  Interviews

    Bean Soda Interview (By Georges Cook)

    1. What are your basic thoughts about the MPAA?

    -From an adult point of view, theyíre useless. I donít see why a group of bitter old men and women locked in a room, forced to watch movies should decide on what I should or should not watch. I am mature enough to know what I want to see and know what I can endure violence/nudity wise. Being a major horror buff, theyíre particular grudge against the genre has frustrated me on many occasions over the years. Friday The 13th Part 7 for example was severely butchered by the MPAA and in consequence the film winds up negating its reason to be. Genre fiends donít watch Friday The 13th movies for a layered narrative or an exploration of the human psyche; we watch them for gratuitous blood and guts.

    Who are the MPAA to tarnish our movie going experience? I thought this was a free country! Now donít get me wrong I do believe that some kind of efficient system should exist to prevent younger viewers from witnessing material that is inappropriate for them, but censoring a film thatís aimed at a mature audience and thatís Rated R feels trivial to me and reeks of dictatorship. Iím an adult and I should be able to see what I want to see and not have these nitwits mess with the directorís vision or the overall experience that the film should deliver.

    2. How do you feel about the MPAA's renewed zealously when it comes to horror films?

    -To me horror films are the biggest scapegoat on the block. Its easier and cheaper for a politician to blame violent movies for the unfortunate acts that take place in this world (Columbine for example) then actually addressing the problem hands on and doing something about it. How many copies of Basketball Diaries were taken down from the video shelves after Columbine? Too many. Did that type of censorship help the cause or solve the problem? No. Maybe if the people in charge would concentrate on the real reasons behind the madness instead of always taking the easy way out and blaming it on movies, things would be different. Issues such as poverty, education, security, parenting; how about putting some money and attention there instead of wasting everybodyís time by pointing the finger at horror/violent films?

    As for the MPAAí relentless bitterness against the horror genre? Itís unfortunate cause it reinforces the ludicrous stereotypes that are out there and gives the politicians more fuel to blame it all on the movies. Iíve been watching horror movies since I was 13 and no I havenít killed anybody. When will they stop hiding behind genre films and address the real issues? Probably neverÖtoo expensive and time consuming. I donít know how they sleep at nightÖ

    -3. What do you think about major films like Hannibal going nearly uncut, while independent films such as Cherry Falls are destroyed by the MPAA?

    -Iím furious about that. It just goes to show the hypocritical stance the MPAA takes when they approach a film in terms of censoring. I donít have a deep insight on how the system works but I would think its probably money driven to a certain extent. Its probably profitable in some way for them to be lenient on a film like Hannibal which sports a big director, huge stars and thatís distributed by a major studio. The smaller films donít have that kind of clout or exposure and therefore get screwed. If Cherry Falls wouldíve starred Brad Pitt and was distributed by MGM, Iím sure it wouldíve gone through the MPAA barely touched. Just look at SEVEN, which was one grisly movie! It got away with so much! If SEVEN wouldíve been a 5 million dollar picture, released by a small company, Iím sure the MPAA wouldíve axed it all over the place. This is just another case of the little guy getting the shaft cause heís the little guy. It makes me sick really; how can I respect a system thatís so inconsistent and unfair?††

    4. As an upcoming director, how do you think the MPAA will affect your films?

    In terms of my film The Red Hours, Iím not actually too scared of them cutting anything graphic gore/nudity wise nor do I really care. The film does have some visually extreme sequences but I purposely want to communicate them in a subtle manner in order to not drown out the subtext of the picture. My main concern is that the MPAA will not or wonít want to understand what Iím trying to communicate. The Red Hours deals with touchy social issues such as extreme feminism, bi sexuality, manís place in todayís society, the rave scene, sex, drugs and its all wrapped up in a horror movie motif. Iíve got all the ingredients here to offend the MPAA and yes I feel theyíll have me tinker with my film so much that it might hurt what Iím trying to say or maybe even decrease the impact the film should have.

    I think the MPAA needs to understand that the more brutal elements in Cinema are fished out of real life. I didnít take these themes out of my hat? Theyíre very present in our society. I donít see anything wrong with commenting on whatís going in the world via celluloid while trying to also entertain the viewer at the same time. This is a crazy world we live in, why should we ignore whatís going on and not be able to express our views on the subjects at hand through art (yes film is an art form)? Now donít get me wrong, The Red Hours is meant for an adult audience and I donít think kids should see it but butchering the picture wont change a thing in the world or protect anybody from whatís going on. All they have to do is switch on the news and theyíll know. Having said that, whatís important to me is the integrity of the message that The Red Hours has and Iíll fight the MPAA till the bitter end to retain it.

 
  Copyright © 2003 John Fallon. All rights reserved