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Office of Film & Literature Classification

Comment from Chief Censor David Shanks on censorship & classification.

Young people's thoughts on viewing sexual violence in media.

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Featured decision - Fifty Shades Freed

10 January 2018

Blog post - Parents, we need to talk...

01 January 2018

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11 December 2017

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07 December 2017

Annual Report 2017 - The year in review

28 November 2017

Blog post - Monte Casino: A primer on loot boxes

08 November 2017

Chief Censor's blog - Porn, jobs, money – the real story

02 November 2017

Featured decision - Blade Runner 2049

06 October 2017

What do the ratings/classifications mean?

What do the ratings/classifications mean?

All about rating/classification labels and descriptive notes.

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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.

Parents, we need to talk...

01 January 2018

Find out more about our collaborative project on helping you communicate with the young people in your life. Read more

Parents 'need to know' about new Netflix release To The Bone

13 July 2017

The Classification Office has classified the anticipated and controversial Netflix film To The Bone
Read more about this media release

Chief Censor publishes research about sexual violence in media

04 July 2017

Our latest research finds out what young people's thoughts on viewing sexual violence in entertainment media like movies, TV shows and games are Read more about this research

Recent classification decisions

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

20/12/2017 - R13: Drug use, sex scenes and offensive language Read more about Lady Bird

What's it about? This coming-of-age drama/comedy follows Christine, a senior at a Catholic girls’ high school who prefers to be called Lady Bird, through the cycle of the American senior year: math tests and school plays; the prom; the “admissions process” for university. Along the way, there are extracurricular rites of passage. At the heart of the film is Lady Bird’s need to gain approval from her mother, a difficult task because the standards seem impossibly high and subject to change without notice, while being true to her own desires and convictions.

What to expect? Lady Bird is a well-made coming-of-age comedy with great emotional depth. It deals in a very frank, funny, and candid manner with its main teenage character and her schoolmates and friends. It gives searing examples of the combative mother/daughter relationship and how, with emerging maturity, Lady Bird begins to see the selfless efforts her mother makes for not only her, but the whole family. It deals with the sexuality of teenage girls in a frank manner, sitting in stark contrast to the more common Hollywood treatment of teenagers and sex in teen sex comedies.

Nonetheless some of the material is relatively strong and likely to confuse children who may misconstrue what they are seeing without fully understanding what is occurring, particularly situations to do with drugs and sex. The level of highly offensive language supports a restricted classification.

20/12/2017 - Unrestricted M: Violence and content that may disturb Read more about Planet Of The Apes: Last Frontier

What's it about? Planet Of The Apes: Last Frontier is an interactive narrative game focused on the cinematic presentation of its branching story. The game tells the story of a tribe of apes driven to a remote mountainside by human soldiers. While looking for food, they find a herd of steers guarded by humans. In their attempt to make off with some livestock a confrontation leaves one man dead, sparking a conflict between the species. Playing out from the perspectives of human leader Jess, and the ape Bryn, the choices players make during the story will ultimately shape whether they can survive in this Last Frontier.

What to expect? Planet Of The Apes: Last Frontier is a highly cinematic, branching story of species trying to survive. Whether they overcome each other, or learn to live together, is up to player choices. In the course of the story, there is low-level bloody violence, and a sequence of moderate cruel violence. However, as player interaction is limited to occasional prompts of binary choices, the game largely plays out in the manner of a film.

While the violence and cruelty depicted is unsuitable for younger audiences, it is well contextualised and is unlikely to cause them lasting harm.

20/12/2017 - Unrestricted M: Violence and suicide Read more about Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds

What's it about? Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds is a Korean fantasy film about Ja-Hong, a firefighter who dies saving a child’s life. After his death, he is told that he is the 48th paragon, having lived and died selflessly, and is destined to reincarnate. In order to do so, however, he is first required to face seven trials in the seven Hells: betrayal, violence, filial impiety, murder, indolence, deceit, and injustice. The publication draws heavily on Korean folklore and Buddhist scripture in order to present a fantastical vision of what happens after death, and carries strong moral messages about the meaning of living a truly ‘good’ life.

What to expect? Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds lifts the veil and explores the trials facing the souls of those in the afterlife. In doing so, it makes a strong moral argument about what it means not only to live a good life but to face a good death. The interwoven elements of Buddhism, Christianity, and folklore combine to create a distinctly Korean film, and offers insight into Korean cultural values.

There are elements of horror and violence that may momentarily disturb children but the overall tone is light and fantastical, and the images are not likely to cause serious harm. There is an attempted suicide in one scene, however this scene is not especially distressing, and neither is it likely to inspire imitation.

06/11/2017 - R16: Violence, offensive language, sexual material and other content that may offend Read more about Family Guy: Season 17

What’s it about? The DVDs contain the seventeenth season of the American animated television series Family Guy. Each episode is around 21 minutes in length. The show satirises contemporary American society and focuses on the dysfunctional suburban family of Peter Griffin, his wife Lois, children Chris, Meg, and Stewie, talking dog Brian, as well as their neighbours Joe, Quagmire, and Cleveland.

What to expect? The series contains heavy slapstick and innuendo-laden humour, often involving crass sexual references. Each episode contains rapid-fire references to popular culture, including parodies of well-known actors, politicians, and celebrities. The publication extensively features subversive and transgressive humour, including gags about coprophilia and bestiality. This material is likely to adversely affect the development of impressionable children and younger teenagers who are still in the process of forming attitudes and behaviours towards sexuality. The regular use of highly offensive language supports the need for a restriction.

Older teenagers and adults are likely to have the necessary maturity to appropriately contextualise this material as subversive satirical comedy.

06/11/2017 - R18: Torture and sadistic violence Read more about Jigsaw

What’s it about? Jigsaw is a sadistic horror film directed by Michael and Peter Spierig. It is the eighth instalment in the Saw franchise. The film’s narrative picks up over a decade after the death of the infamous Jigsaw killer, John Kramer, during the police investigation of a series of murders that fit his modus operandi. The group of victims (Anna, Ryan, Mitch and Carly) are abducted and subjected to puzzle-like “games” that force them to confront their past decisions in life and make a choice on whether to harm themselves or other captives in order to survive. Detectives Halloran and Keith investigate the murders across the city and are assisted by medical examiners Eleanor and Logan to uncover evidence that may lead to Kramer’s apprehension.

What to expect? The dominant effect of Jigsaw is a graphic but highly contrived psychological horror, focussing on gratuitous depictions of torture. The extent and degree to which violence, torture and cruelty are depicted means that the film is likely to be injurious to children and teenagers. These younger viewers are likely to be shocked and disturbed by the brutal presentation of torture, sadistic violence and coerced self-mutilation, especially given the film’s moral underpinning of the killings as a means of making the victims suffer for harm they have caused to others. There is also a real concern that repeated exposure to this kind of cruel violence is likely to have a desensitising or inuring effect on children and teenagers.

Adults have a better ability to distance themselves, and appreciate that the material is unrealistic and contrived, and intended to thrill and horrify.

06/11/2017 - R16: Drug use, sexual references and offensive language Read more about A Bad Moms Christmas

What’s it about? A Bad Moms Christmas, the sequel to Bad Moms, is an American comedy that follows three mothers in their thirties – Amy, Kiki and Carla. In this instalment, the women must deal with their own mothers coming to stay in the lead-up to Christmas. Amy’s mother Ruth is a critical over-achiever who embarrasses Amy with over-the-top Christmas festivities. Kiki’s mother Sandy is overly adoring and clingy, and Carla’s hard-living mother Isis only shows up when she wants money. Amy, Kiki and Carla decide to rebel against the challenges and expectations of Christmas and celebrate it their way, which for Amy is a low-key event. The story follows the highs and lows of each mother/daughter relationship as they reach breaking point, then reconnect for Christmas.

What to expect? A Bad Moms Christmas bases its comedy around the dynamics of mother/daughter relationships. It contains crude sexual material and frequent use of highly offensive language. There’s some casual drug use and other petty crime as well. Some sophistication is required to understand the sexual vocabulary and humour. The film clearly targets an older audience. This content would be harmful to children and younger teens, who are likely to be negatively affected by the casual way that characters project profanity and attitudes which are socially dubious.

The fact that this is presented in a context of comedy is likely to cause more harm to younger viewers because they are likely to interpret people enjoying the film as wider social endorsement to copy or emulate the behaviours and language it contains.

Minds Over Media

Video transcripts

  • TTYP: What do they want to know?

    Video transcript - TTYP: 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!

  • TTYP: Really listen

    Video transcript - TTYP: 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!

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