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Office of Film & Literature Classification

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Including updates on the latest research carried out by the Office of Film & Literature Classification, media releases and other breaking news.

Growing up with Porn: Insights from young New Zealanders

18 April 2020

Read our latest research report, Growing up with Porn - Insights from young New Zealanders Read more

How to talk with young people about pornography

05 December 2019

This page contains frequently asked questions and advice for parents who want to talk with their young people about pornography. Read more

NZ Youth and Porn

05 December 2018

Read our research report, NZ Youth and Porn. Read more

Recent classification decisions

These are brief snapshots of recent classification decisions. For more detailed information on selected titles see featured classification decisions

24/08/2020 - R18: Graphic violence, cruelty and offensive language. Read more about Becky

What is it? Becky is a US film in which a young teenager deals with a home invasion at her family lake house. Becky is still grieving the loss of her mother to cancer and is dealing with the news that her father (Jeff) wants to marry his girlfriend (Kayla) when four prison escapees (led by the white supremacist Dominick) arrive. They are hunting for a mysterious oversized key. Becky has the key and proceeds to deal with the situation in a resourceful and gory fashion.

What to expect? Becky is a gruesome home invasion revenge thriller. The purpose of the white supremacist themes are to add colour to the villains but the effect is vague and confusing. The film is notable for having a young teenager as its violent protagonist – a choice that lends the film an exploitative tone. It is clearly unsuitable for children. The gratuitous imagery and cruel tone are also likely to shock and disturb teenagers. The home invasion premise is likely to be unsettling for younger viewers. The presence of highly offensive language also supports a restriction.

30/07/2020 - R13: Violence, horror and cruelty Read more about Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul

What is it? Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul is the third movie in the Japanese anime series, charting Reg, a humanoid robot, and Riko’s journey into the abyss to find Riko’s mother, Lyza. The film starts as they arrive at the fifth layer. Together with their friend Nanachi, who has lost part of their humanity to the abyss and resembles a rabbit, they must confront Bondrewd, a cave raider who can transfer his mind between bodies, in order to make it down to the sixth level. The film is in Japanese, with subtitles in English.

What to expect? Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul is an engaging high-fantasy anime feature. Its protagonists are both plucky and worthy; the painted style and world building contribute to its epic adventure feel. However, it deals with body horror and cruelty to an extent and degree that the unrestricted availability of the publication would be injurious to the public good. While the animated medium limits the overall impact, occasional gore and scenes of juvenile characters being dismembered while alive are still striking and highly affecting. Both the depiction of cruelty and the ideas behind the horror are likely to shock and disturb children. Teenagers are more likely to be able to contextualise the content within a fantasy narrative without being adversely affected.

30/07/2020 - R16: Contains graphic violence and horror Read more about Resident Evil 3 (2020)

What is it? Resident Evil 3 (2020) is a remake of a game originally released in 1999, reimagined as a third-person action game. The game is set in Raccoon City, a fictional American metropolis overrun by a zombie virus. Players assume the role of Detective Jill Valentine as she finds herself the target of a humanoid bioweapon known as Nemesis. Jill had been investigating the operations of the secretive Umbrella Corporation, who had developed the zombie virus, and are now focused on erasing any evidence that the viral outbreak was their fault. As she works to escape the city and the clutches of the seemingly unstoppable Nemesis, she is helped by Carlos Oliveira, a private military contractor who is working for, but increasingly suspicious of, the Umbrella Corporation. As players progress through the game, players will control both Jill and Carlos as the story requires.

What to expect? Resident Evil 3 (2020) is a linear, story driven game with regular combat sequences, occasional puzzle solving and constant horror themes. The violence is gory, but somewhat mitigated by being directed towards clearly undead or mutated enemies. Nonetheless, the gory violence and the horror players encounter throughout the game are likely to shock and disturb younger audiences. However as older teenagers and adults have the requisite maturity to reconcile this high degree of violence in the context of thrilling zombie fiction, Resident Evil 3 (2020) is best classified as restricted to those aged 16 and over.

30/07/2020 - M: Violence, offensive language and sexual references Read more about Bait

What is it? Bait is a UK feature film that focuses on Martin, a Cornish fisherman who is struggling with the gentrification of his working class fishing village, and resents the loss of his family home and livelihood. Martin’s grievances are captured in his ongoing discord with the Leighs, a family of stereotypical bourgeoisie outsiders, as he attempts to re-establish his family’s role in the community.

What to expect? The dominant effect of Bait is a stylistically unique film that examines the effect of change on a working class community. The film repeatedly juxtaposes the old with the new, locals with outsiders, and haves with the have-nots. It has been commended for its social commentary and filmic style. The restrained pace and visual style is unlikely to appeal to younger viewers.
The unrestricted availability of the film is unlikely to be injurious to the public good. The sexual references, moderate spikes of violence and fleeting depiction of drug use are low in extent and impact. They are unlikely to leave a lasting impression on younger audiences. Although the highly offensive language is well contextualised, it may, at times, be startling to younger viewers. However, it is unlikely to lead to long-term or serious harm. 

19/03/2020 - R13: Violence, offensive language and sex scenes Read more about Queen and Slim

What is it? Queen and Slim is a crime drama and unlikely romance. After an unexceptional first date a young black couple are pulled over by a racist white cop. When the encounter goes badly wrong, Slim ends up shooting the cop and the two almost-strangers go on the run, travelling cross-country in an attempt to keep their freedom.

What to expect? Queen and Slim is a nuanced exploration of the effect of police brutality in the wake of the “black lives matter” movement. Both a love story and a road movie, it blends genre and characterisation to create a narrative which manages to voice anger at injustice without being didactic.

While the film’s portrayal of police brutality and gun violence is well-contextualised and of low extent, children are still likely to be shocked by it. The moral ambiguity of the crime presented requires some maturity to appreciate. Children are also unlikely to have the maturity to process the relatively frank sex scene and associated nudity. Furthermore, the extent of offensive language is likely to inure younger viewers to such language, increasing the likelihood of imitation, to the detriment of their socialisation.

16/03/2020 - R13: Contains violence and horror scenes Read more about Nioh 2

What is it? Nioh 2 is an action role playing game set in a mythic version of feudal Japan. Players assume the role of a warrior imbued with the power of a supernatural spirit – whose prowess at demon slaying calls him to battle with a growing horde of supernatural foes. Amidst this burgeoning threat, the warlords of the day battle for supremacy. Played from a third person perspective, players explore each level – battling demons of various shapes and sizes, until they culminate in a more challenging opponent and the level is complete. Dialogue that bookends the missions gives players context for their task, and there are cinematic cutscenes to propel more dramatic moments forward. Along the way, players will be able to find and upgrade new weapons, armours and skills to help them tackle ever more difficult foes.

What to expect? The combat in Nioh 2 is fast paced and bloody but somewhat mitigated by the mythic-historic setting. Most of the opponents the player faces off against are either supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore, or humans influenced by demonic spirits. During the game's frequent martial combat there is blood spray, as well as some decapitation. Whether the necks spurt blood or gas depends on the creature being fought. Ultimately, while this is a frequently bloody game, the mythic-historical setting considerably lessens the realism of the physical harm depicted. Nonetheless, the bloody violence and persistent but limited horror themes are likely to prove disturbing to younger audiences. Therefore Nioh 2 is best classified as restricted to those aged 13 and over, as teenagers have the maturity to properly contextualise this violence and horror in its supernatural setting.

Minds Over Media

Video transcripts

  • What do they want to know?

    Video transcript - What do they want to know?

    The video clip is a minute long. White background. A small pause button appears on screen before turning into the Minds Over Media logo, which reads "Minds Over Media. Watch carefully. Think critically." Dr Sue Bagshaw's name appears on screen alongside that of the Collaborative Trust. The title of the video, Talking to young people: What do they want to know? appears on screen.

    Sue's voiceover plays over this. Transcript follows below:

    I think it's - again, it's about listening. So it's really important to listen to what actually do they want to know? Because us with our adult minds (dirty, filthy minds that we've got) we go straight to, "Oh, they must be asking about the details of intercourse, or the - they want to know about oral sex, or..." But actually they really don't want that much detail. They just want to know that you're happy to answer. So always - if they ask you a question, you go (gasp) 'Oh, how am I going to answer this?' Just ask them back. "Why do you want to know? What would you like to know about that?" And then clarify, and you might find they don't want to know all that much detail and you go way over the top and totally unnecessarily. So those, "I'm wondering how come you think like that? I'm wondering why you ask that question? I'm just wanting to understand where you're coming from." Rather than listening to think, "Oh help, how am I going to answer that one?"

    White background. Image of Classification Office logo with Massey University logo. Text on screen reads: Office of Film and Literature Classification Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga. www.classificationoffice.govt.nz; and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa University of New Zealand, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. End of clip.

    With thanks to Drs. Sue Bagshaw of the Collaborative Trust and Claire Henry of Massey University. Ka pai!

  • Really listen

    Video transcript - Really listen

    The video clip is one minute and two seconds long. White background. A small pause button appears on screen before turning into the Minds Over Media logo, which reads "Minds Over Media. Watch carefully. Think critically." Dr Sue Bagshaw's name appears on screen alongside that of the Collaborative Trust. The title of the video, Talking to young people: Really listen appears on screen.

    Sue's voiceover plays over this. Transcript follows below:

    I mean, for me the biggest message I want to get across to parents is "listen". The biggest feedback I get from kids is "My parents don't listen to me". And parents think they're listening, but kids don't feel heard. And I think it's that difference between listening, but you're still doing something and actually listening and reflecting and actually spending time to not necessarily looking people in the eye, because that’s really embarrassing, but while you’re driving or while you’re doing something automatic so that you’re doing it alongside each other, but really hearing. So I think trying to listen to what the underlying message is what the child is trying to say because they haven’t got the vocabulary. So we really need to listen to the emotion and the need underneath. And that kind of listening, whoa. If we could all do that, our society would be way different. Especially our politicians.

    White background. Image of Classification Office logo with Massey University logo. Text on screen reads: Office of Film and Literature Classification Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga. www.classificationoffice.govt.nz; and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa University of New Zealand, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. End of clip.

    With thanks to Drs. Sue Bagshaw of the Collaborative Trust and Claire Henry of Massey University. Ka pai!

  • Thinking critically

    Video transcript - Thinking critically

    The video clip is 42 seconds long. White background. A small pause button appears on screen before turning into the Minds Over Media logo, which reads "Minds Over Media. Watch carefully. Think critically." Dr Sue Bagshaw's name appears on screen alongside that of the Collaborative Trust. The title of the video, Talking to young people: Thinking critically appears on screen.

    I think we kind of need to apply and teach people critical thinking powers to actually see what the underlying assumptions are; actually evaluate them in terms of your own experience and then draw some conclusions about what you're watching, rather than just jumping to conclusions. So I think it's really important that we teach young people right now as they're growing up, even from childhood on, that entertainment is entertainment - it's not reality. Yes we make movies of reality, but at the same time we're doing that for a purpose sometimes to help us reflect and think about ourselves so that we can actually say, "Well are we ok with this?"

    This is intercut with footage from Black Mirror of a young man watching a sexualised music video.

    White background. Image of Classification Office logo with Massey University logo. Text on screen reads: Office of Film and Literature Classification Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga. www.classificationoffice.govt.nz; and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa University of New Zealand, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. End of clip.

    With thanks to Drs. Sue Bagshaw of the Collaborative Trust and Claire Henry of Massey University. Ka pai!

  • Getting started is easy

    Video transcript - Getting started is easy

    The video clip is 28 seconds long. White background. A small pause button appears on screen before turning into the Minds Over Media logo, which reads "Minds Over Media. Watch carefully. Think critically." Dr Sue Bagshaw's name appears on screen alongside that of the Collaborative Trust. The title of the video, Talking to young people: Getting started is easy appears on screen.

    Sue's voiceover plays over this. Transcript follows below:

    Watching a movie together is really good, because then you can go, "So what did you think about when that guy kissed her? What do you think about when that guy pushed her over because she wouldn't kiss him? What did you-" and kind of start at that level and kind of have those conversations around something you're watching. It's not the big talk but you pick up on that opportunity of watching something which you know is probably going to touch on those subjects and then you can talk about it.

    This is intercut with footage from 13 Reasons Why of a young woman sliding down a slide and kissing a young man.

    White background. Image of Classification Office logo with Massey University logo. Text on screen reads: Office of Film and Literature Classification Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga. www.classificationoffice.govt.nz; and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa University of New Zealand, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. End of clip.

    With thanks to Drs. Sue Bagshaw of the Collaborative Trust and Claire Henry of Massey University. Ka pai!

  • A handy guide to brain development

    Video transcript - A handy guide to brain development

    The video clip is 2 minutes and 15 seconds long. White background. A small pause button appears on screen before turning into the Minds Over Media logo, which reads "Minds Over Media. Watch carefully. Think critically." Dr Sue Bagshaw's name appears on screen alongside that of the Collaborative Trust. The title of the video, Talking to young people: A hnady guide to brain development appears on screen.

    Sue's voiceover plays over this. Transcript follows below:

    I'm so glad you asked because now I can do my handy model of brain development! So brains develop from the bottom up. So this bit here is your spinal cord going down the back of your neck. The base of the thumb is the base of your brain and that controls all your organs without you having to think - the automatic nervous system, I call it - and your noradrenaline-adrenaline production; the bit that reacts to fear - that gets you going basically. That's all linked in online when you're born but not much else.

    So all the structures are there but they're not online. The first five years of life you can actually see it through your eyes, because you can see them learn to walk, talk, and chew gum at the same time, and then this bit in the middle - the thumb - is your limbic system. And that's the bit which deals with emotion and new ways of laying down memory. The amygdala's there and the amygdala's really important because that's the bit that looks for danger and it's really on hyper alert with young people and it's firing up like mad, really coming online so their amygdala is much bigger than an adult's. So they're hyper alert already. If they've had bad experiences growing up, that's hyper alerted them as well - their already developed amygdalas.

    But this bit, which is the bit - the cortex - that brings in your thinking about thinking and your ability to think is only online about 20% of the time for teenagers. So they think with their emotions and that's what you have to be aware of when they're exposed to all this media stuff. Adults have that thinking to critically review it and say, "This isn't real, this is rubbish; this doesn't equate with anything I know" but teenagers haven't got that. So adults need to be the frontal cortex for their teenagers, to be able to help them calm down their amygdalas, which go zooming off with horror stuff. We all like a bit of a noradrenaline buzz, that's why horror movies do so well, but at the same time not overly much.

    Because some young people will have that horror buzz for two years after they've seen something and that's going to affect how they function in their lives. So really important that parents are there to help filter and to help do that critical thinking.

    This is intercut with footage from Black Mirror of a child being taken care of by her caregivers, and seeing other students in a playground watching media.

    White background. Image of Classification Office logo with Massey University logo. Text on screen reads: Office of Film and Literature Classification Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga. www.classificationoffice.govt.nz; and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa University of New Zealand, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. End of clip.

    With thanks to Drs. Sue Bagshaw of the Collaborative Trust and Claire Henry of Massey University. Ka pai!

  • Concrete vs abstract thinkers

    Video transcript - Concrete vs abstract thinkers

    The video clip is one minute and seven seconds long. White background. A small pause button appears on screen before turning into the Minds Over Media logo, which reads "Minds Over Media. Watch carefully. Think critically." Dr Sue Bagshaw's name appears on screen alongside that of the Collaborative Trust. The title of the video, Talking to young people: Concrete vs. Abstract Thinkers appears on screen.

    Sue's voiceover plays over this. Transcript follows below:

    The other thing that I think we have to remember is the nature of a concrete thinker. So a concrete thinker will take everything literally and will just translate what they've seen into real life, whereas an abstract thinker will go, "Oh yeah, but that's not real life - that's fine, I can keep my stuff separate. That's just entertainment, that's okay." But it's a really blurred line for a lot of things, especially if you've had adverse experiences growing up, so you blur that line. It's really hard to know what's real and what's not and that's I think the danger of the violence that we see and the sexual violence that we see is: where's that blurred line, and how do we determine where that line comes when it's so difficult to determine what's real and what's not real? And certainly for young people I think we have to be careful about messages when they're watching it and they're thinking it's real, we've got to be really careful, whereas if you've got that critical thinking, that frontal lobe linked in a bit more then you can deal with it so much more easily

    White background. Image of Classification Office logo with Massey University logo. Text on screen reads: Office of Film and Literature Classification Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga. www.classificationoffice.govt.nz; and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa University of New Zealand, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. End of clip.

    With thanks to Drs. Sue Bagshaw of the Collaborative Trust and Claire Henry of Massey University. Ka pai!

  • Flipping your lid

    Video transcript - Flipping your lid

    The video clip is two minutes and 24 seconds long. White background. A small pause button appears on screen before turning into the Minds Over Media logo, which reads "Minds Over Media. Watch carefully. Think critically." Dr Sue Bagshaw's name appears on screen alongside that of the Collaborative Trust. The title of the video, Talking to young people: Flipping your lid appears on screen.

    Sue's voiceover plays over this. Transcript follows below:

    So what comes online in teenage times is the amygdala and the limbic system kind of really feeling everything really intensely, and then this bit (the cortex) comes around and helps to temper those emotions because you start thinking about them and you're a bit more critical, and you temper them with your ability to think. When you think horrible thoughts that stimulates your feelings which triggers off your adrenaline and then when your adrenaline's triggered off you get all these things like you increase breathing, increase heart rate, your immune system's affected because of cortisol going on and on. Your guts get affected: you get diarrhea, feel nausea, you want to throw up, you pee all the time. So all those effects.

    But just so you know what it's like to think with your emotions - all of us I know have lost our keys, already late from work. That's a kind of classic scenario and how many times do we look in the same place? We look in the same place three times, five times, 15 times - totally illogical! You know? If you didn't find it once you're not gonna find it again looking in the same place. So we have flipped our lids. We're thinking with our emotions and our logical thought is gone. So when you're talking to teenagers it's really important to acknowledge that emotion because we all know, you know when we go, "Just calm down. When did you last have them? Think." We can't do that, we just want to slap that person, "Look, just help me find my keys!" That's what teenagers feel. They feel like slapping us because they know that we don't understand, so the most important thing you can do is talk to the emotions. Acknowledge that emotion, show them you're trying to understand (you can't absolutely, but trying to) and then introduce that logical thought and then that makes it so much easier.

    So if somebody's upset by watching a movie just saying to them, "Oh look it's just a movie you know you've got nothing to worry about it's okay." Goes down like a lump of lead but if you can say "Oh yeah how did it make you feel? Did it really make you feel scared?" or, "What did you feel about that, and tell me more about how that's affecting you?" And then introduce "But actually it's only a movie." You know, we all know if we woken up in a nightmare and somebody says, "Oh it's only a dream", you think "But it feels really real! You know, it's taken me I'm really upset." Got to acknowledge that and calm it and soothe it first, and then you talk about it.

    White background. Image of Classification Office logo with Massey University logo. Text on screen reads: Office of Film and Literature Classification Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga. www.classificationoffice.govt.nz; and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa University of New Zealand, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. End of clip.

    With thanks to Drs. Sue Bagshaw of the Collaborative Trust and Claire Henry of Massey University. Ka pai!

  • Suicide

    Video transcript - Suicide

    The video clip is one minute and sixteen seconds long. White background. A small pause button appears on screen before turning into the Minds Over Media logo, which reads "Minds Over Media. Watch carefully. Think critically." Dr Sue Bagshaw's name appears on screen alongside that of the Collaborative Trust. The title of the video, Talking to young people: Really listen appears on screen.

    Sue's voiceover plays over this. Transcript follows below:

    It's not just on 13 Reasons Why, it's also knowing a friend who has suicided, and I think probably the biggest risk factor for somebody to suicide is knowing somebody who has suicided. Whether it be a family member or a friend or just somebody they know in their school. And I think it's really important the parents have that conversation and I think it depends on their stage of development and how young they are and what their experience but I think going from a position of grief and say, "Gosh, wasn't that really sad for that young person, that they had felt that way that they could take their own life?"

    So exploring what your young person thinks about what happens after death is really helpful because you may not realize that they're thinking this stuff and then go, "Have you ever felt like that?" Actually bring it out. "Have you felt like that? And if you have, that's really sad that you feel like that and you've lost that hope that keeps people going. I really need - you need - we need to talk about it if you feel like that. Please if you feel like that and you get thoughts like that, just come and talk; it doesn't matter what time of the day or night, come and tell me because that's much better than carrying it on your own."

    White background. Image of Classification Office logo with Massey University logo. Text on screen reads: Office of Film and Literature Classification Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga. www.classificationoffice.govt.nz; and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa University of New Zealand, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. End of clip.

    With thanks to Drs. Sue Bagshaw of the Collaborative Trust and Claire Henry of Massey University. Ka pai!

  • Checking your emotions

    Video transcript - Checking your emotions

    The video clip is 59 seconds long. White background. A small pause button appears on screen before turning into the Minds Over Media logo, which reads "Minds Over Media. Watch carefully. Think critically." Dr Sue Bagshaw's name appears on screen alongside that of the Collaborative Trust. The title of the video, Talking to young people: Checking your emotions appears on screen.

    Sue's voiceover plays over this. Transcript follows below:

    It's really important for parents to contain your own emotional response before you actually go and talk to your young person, because otherwise the two get conflicted and you don't actually get a good message across. All you get across is your anger, and grief, and horror that this is my child doing this stuff.

    [CLIP FROM RIVERDALE] We're your parents. [EMOTIONAL MUSIC PLAYS]

    Sue: I love the t-shirt says "No you calm down" because you know adults are really good at kind of [exasperate sigh] going off. We all are! We all lose our prefrontal cortex from time to time and so it's important to just calm yourself before you actually bring it up with your young person. But it is good to bring it up because then you can discuss that time and that's a learning time for everybody then.

    White background. Image of Classification Office logo with Massey University logo. Text on screen reads: Office of Film and Literature Classification Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga. www.classificationoffice.govt.nz; and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa University of New Zealand, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. End of clip.

    With thanks to Drs. Sue Bagshaw of the Collaborative Trust and Claire Henry of Massey University. Ka pai!

  • How we classify

    Video transcript - How we classify

    This video clip is 2 minutes long. It is an animation. Red cinema curtains pull back, and show a PG label.

    A voice over plays over an animation, which follows a person watching a film between a pink rabbit and a fox. The film makes the person remember crying by a grave, but the rabbit and the fox have a good time. At the end of the animation, the person is watching the film on their phone, tablet, picking out a disc, and at the cinema.

    The transcript for the voice-over follows below:

    Have you ever gone to a film where there was something that made you anxious? Scared? Maybe even dug up some unpleasant memories? We watch films mostly to have a good time, and be informed, but not harmed by its content. Classifications are important so consumers are empowered to choose what is right for them. But who makes these classifications? In New Zealand, it’s us! The Classification Office. Before films come out in New Zealand, one of our classification advisors watches it, and looks out for: sex, horror, crime, cruelty, and violence, as well as offensive language and self-harm content. We give the film a rating based on what we saw, as well as a brief description of the strongest content in the film. It’s not just films. We look at games, books, and all sorts of publications. It can even be a t-shirt.

    We can classify almost anything that needs to be restricted. Everyone has different life experiences and needs. Classifications act as way for people to know what kind of content is in a film. So next time, take a look at the classification. Watch carefully, think critically.

    Visit our website at classificationoffice.govt.nz

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