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Office of Film & Literature Classification

Our research report, NZ Youth and Porn.

An online version of Challenging Media, our Parents' Guide, now available in Te Reo Māori.

A series of videos about talking to young people, part of our 'Minds Over Media' campaign.

A website for NCEA students studying the classification system.

Latest news and blog posts

Media release - Young people and porn - the real story

05 December 2018

Research - NZ Youth and Porn

05 December 2018

Featured decision - A Star is Born

06 November 2018

Video series - Talking to young people

01 May 2018

What do the ratings/classifications mean?

What do the ratings/classifications mean?

All about rating/classification labels and descriptive notes.

Read moreabout classifications

Ratings

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Looking for the rating of a film, game or publication?

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OFLC updates

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

OFLC Response to Christchurch – What You Can Do

18 March 2019

Read our response to the March 2019 terrorist attacks in Christchurch. Read more

Young people and porn – the real story

05 December 2018

Read the press release supporting the release of our report: Young people and porn – the real story Read more

Evidence coming on impacts of pornography on young New Zealanders

05 November 2018

The Chief Censor warns that decisions on the impacts of online pornography must be based on evidence Read more

Recent classification decisions

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

19/03/2019 - R16: Violence, offensive language and sexual material Read more about Destroyer

What is it? Destroyer is a crime drama film from the United States. It follows LAPD detective Erin Bell, who arrives on the scene of a John Doe murder and informs the responding officers that she knows the identity of the murderer. At the police station, Erin receives a $100 bill stained with dye, in an unmarked envelope. Using a contact at the FBI, she confirms that the bill is from a bank robbery committed by a California gang 16 years prior – the same gang that she and her former partner Chris were embedded in as undercover officers. She believes the bill and the John Doe murder to be proof that the gang's leader, Silas, is once again active. Erin is forced to work her way through the remaining members of the gang in order to find Silas and seek revenge.

What to expect? A slow-burning drama that deals with the main character’s complex emotional life and psychological trauma. It contains spikes of violence and cruelty in emotionally bleak yet intense situations that are likely to shock and disturb children and younger teenagers. A disturbing scene of implied sexual activity is also likely to shock and disturb these groups. Older teenagers and adults are likely to have the experience and critical literacy to contextualise the stronger elements of the film as part of an emotionally heavy crime drama, which mitigates their impacts. The moral ambiguity surrounding all of the characters in the film suggests that the film is intended for a mature audience.

28/02/2019 - R13: Bloody violence and content that may disturb Read more about Greta

What is it? Greta is a thriller film set in New York City. Frances, a sweet, naïve young woman, doesn't hesitate to return a handbag she finds on the subway to its rightful owner. That owner is Greta, a lonely, eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music. Having recently lost her mother, Frances soon bonds with the widowed Greta. Their friendship quickly escalates into something far more toxic than Frances could ever have known.

What to expect? Greta is an aesthetically beautiful but slow-paced thriller that functions as an allegory on the dangers of trusting strangers too quickly. The depictions of stalking, coercion, kidnapping and entrapment are unsettling and likely to make children fearful of real life situations. Violence is used sparingly, and is primarily featured towards the climax of the film. However, the short but horrifying spike of bloody violence is likely to shocking and disturbing to children, particularly as it is out of character with the rest of the film.

21/02/2019 - R13: Violence, offensive language, drug use and sexual material Read more about Vox Lux

What is it? Vox Lux is a drama film from the United States. In 1999, in her eighth grade year, Celeste Montgomery is shot during a school shooting. She survives but suffers a spinal injury. During a memorial service for the rest of her classmates, she performs a song that she and her sister Ellie had written about the experience. This is captured by the media, and Celeste is catapulted into stardom. The film traces Celeste's career as she rises to worldwide fame, initially spending time in Stockholm where she is initiated into the music business. In 2017, the now-31-year-old Celeste is mother to a teenage daughter of her own, Albertine. A troubled popstar, she prepares for a massive concert while dealing with the media fallout of a terrorist attack that had used her iconography.

What to expect? A dramatic film that focusses first on a young teenager’s burgeoning stardom, and then documents the adult star as an angry, cynical, out-of-control powerhouse. The most impactful scene is the opening school shooting, with an immediate and startling scene of violence that is likely to shock and disturb children. Teenagers and adults are likely to have the experience and literacy to contextualise the scene within the dramatic genre of film. Furthermore, its restrained and brief depiction mitigates the impact of the scene for these groups. The use of offensive language is also likely to negatively impact on younger audiences’ socialisation. Outside of this there is little classifiable content. The references to sex, drugs and suicide are fairly low-level.

06/12/2018 - M: Violence and sexualised imagery Read more about Dead or Alive 6

What is it? Dead or Alive 6 is a one-versus-one fighting game developed for modern consoles and PC. The main draw is as a competitive fighting game, where players face off against each other in local and online matches, as well as versus computer-controlled opponents for practice. A swathe of quests, consisting of brief battles with completion requirements, further challenge players to complete them and unlock new accessories and costumes. The game also features a somewhat disjointed story mode, with brief cutscenes and mission-selection text gesturing at a wider story.

What to expect? Dead or Alive 6 deals with a high extent of unrealistic and heightened martial arts violence, and some sexualised imagery. The degree to which these elements are dealt with is limited. Instead, the overall effect of the game is more about fast-paced decision making than revelling in violence. As such, the game is unlikely to cause children lasting harm.

19/11/2018 - R16: Violence, offensive language, and sex scenes Read more about Widows

What is it? The film follows Veronica Rawlins, the wife of robber Harry Rawlins, after he and his associates are killed in a botched heist. After she is threatened by crime boss and political contender Jamal Manning (Harry’s final target), she contacts the widows of Harry’s associates, asking them to help her pull off a heist in order to pay Jamal back and start anew. Each of the widows has been left worse off after their husbands’ deaths: Linda Perelli has her business repossessed, Alice Gunner is coerced into prostitution by her abusive mother, and Amanda is left raising a five-month-old child on her own.

Meanwhile, Jamal wants to become alderman of the 18th ward of Chicago. The election battle between him and dynastic incumbent Jack Mulligan becomes increasingly volatile as Jack struggles to navigate the hypocrisy of pretending to care for the people when he simply wants power.

What to expect? Widows is a dark and dramatic film, which uses the disempowered positions of four women to present a unique take on the heist genre and discuss socio-political issues in modern society. Its slow pace and grim tone is unlikely to appeal to children and teenagers. The level of cruelty and violence in the film, as well as its realistic presentation, is likely to shock and disturb young audiences, as well as inure them to violence and its consequences more generally. The throughline in the film around domestic violence – and its lack of resolution in particular – is likely to shock and disturb younger audiences. The level of sexual material (given its juxtaposition against domestic violence), moral ambiguity around crime, and offensive language are also likely to impact younger audiences negatively, as they are unlikely to have the social and critical experience to contextualise these as dramatic and filmic commentary on real-world power structures.

16/11/2018 - M: Contains violence Read more about The Last Sharknado: It's About Time

What is it? The sixth and final instalment of the Sharknado film series. The film depicts Fin and the gang using time travel to stop sharknados from ever happening in history. Fin and his now-adult son Gil travel back 66 million years in order to destroy the phenomenon of sharknados once and for all. The team battle through history and face dinosaurs, knights, cowboys and – of course – sharks, eventuating in a final battle between a futuristic-April-robot and a tired Fin.

What to expect? The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time is a low-budget B-movie with a far-fetched storyline, unconvincing acting and visual effects, but a sense of fun and humour. There are occasional scenes of violence and some images that may frighten very young children (such as exaggerated and unrealistic loss of limbs), but the artificial nature of its presentation substantially reduces the overall impact.

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!

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