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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.
18 April 2020
Read our latest research report, Growing up with Porn - Insights from young New Zealanders Read more
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
26/11/2020 - Unrestricted M: Offensive language and suicide references Read more about Mank
What is it? Mank is a biopic detailing the difficult events and history surrounding writing the script for Citizen Kane in 1945. Alcoholic, washed up and with a broken leg, Herman Mankiewicz, a.k.a Mank, is charged by Orson Welles to write a film that is a thinly veiled criticism of the media mogul, William Randoph Hearst – a task that is politically dangerous, given Hearst money and power. Welles organises for Mank to be nursed and supervised to finish the script without alcohol. The film weaves between present and past, as Mank reminisces about his history with Hearst and Hearst’s wife, Marion Davies, in order to construct his masterpiece.
What to expect? Mank is an entertaining, dialogue-driven biopic about writing and redemption. Filmed in black and white, the cinematography and structure of the film heavily references and pays homage to Citizen Kane. The film is likely to be of interest to fans of director, David Fincher, and people interested in cinema history. Despite dealing with suicide and the self-destructive behaviour of its protagonist, any restriction would be unreasonable. The suicide content is of low impact, especially given the historical context and the style of the film. The offensive language in the film is also unlikely to harm, given its infrequency and stylised nature. However, these elements do indicate that the film is targeted at a mature audience.
20/08/2020 - R13: Violence, sexual material and offensive language Read more about Lowdown Dirty Criminals
What is it? Lowdown Dirty Criminals is a New Zealand crime comedy film. It follows two young men in search of a better life. When Freddy loses his job, he and his best buddy Marvin naively conclude a life of crime may lead them to the wealth and standing they desire. But when they mess up their first job while working for the shady Mr Speights, a sequence of hilarious and violent events snowball out of control, and they eventually find themselves the targets of “The Upholsterer” and her henchmen.
What to expect? Lowdown Dirty Criminals is a light hearted comedy film. The film’s unrestricted availability is likely to be injurious to the public good predominantly due to its treatment of sex, crime and violence. The overt sexual material is clearly aimed at an older audience, who are expected to have some knowledge of sex, sexual behaviours and sexual relationships. The main characters cleverly evade law enforcement and the crimes they commit are depicted in a light-hearted manner- giving the film a certain level of moral ambiguity. Younger audiences are unlikely to put these elements into their filmic and generic contexts without being negatively affected. The violence is likely to be normalised by children as a way of retaliating against others, and could affect their ability to empathise with the real life suffering of others.
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.