Although director Gaspar Noé contended his upcoming film Love is cool for 12-year-olds, he anticipated age restrictions would be placed on the sexually explicit 3D film. This suspicion was confirmed when, following the film's Cannes debut, it was restricted to 16 and up. Earlier this week, that rating changed when political pressure from French religious and right wing interests notched Noé's work up to 18+, a decision that has the director calling into question the future of freedom of expression in films.
Noé spoke out to French paper Libération following the re-rating, calling the decision "nonsense." Although Love features unsimulated sex scenes and Noé has stated that he hopes "guys will have erections and girls will get wet," the Enter the Void director maintains it's not porn, but as the title suggests, depicts the beauty of sexual intimacy.
Noé also stated his concern that the administrative court's decision might lead to self censorship among other creatives. "Directors or producers may start to be afraid. There is a risk that the film-makers or writers censor themselves," he told the paper.
The decision follows the hotly contested 18 certificate received by Diary of a Teenage Girl -- the recently released and critically acclaimed coming-of-age film following 15-year-old protagonist Minnie Goetze's sexual awakening in 70s San Francisco -- in the UK. "It was an all male board that gave us that rating and I just think it's sad and pathetic that an all male board has decided what young women are allowed to see and think and talk about," the film's director, Marielle Heller, told i-D earlier this week.
Back in 2010, an appeal to overturn quasi-controversial Ryan Gosling flick Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating was successful, and the film was re-rated R shortly before its theatrical release. Perhaps Noé can find similar success and reclaim his right to free expression.
Text Emily Manning
Image via YouTube