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Office of Film & Literature Classification

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

An online version of Challenging Media, our Parents' Guide.

Our featured decision for 13 Reasons Why: Season 2. See our episode-by-episode guide here

A website for NCEA students studying the classification system.

Latest news and blog posts

Episode guide - 13 Reasons Why Season 2 Episode Guide

18 May 2018

Featured decision - 13 Reasons Why: Season 2

18 May 2018

Featured decision - Deadpool 2

11 May 2018

Blog post - The handy model of brain development

01 May 2018

Video series - Talking to young people

01 May 2018

Media release - It's not everyone's fiction

08 March 2018

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

01 January 2018

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.

Chief Censor applies RP18 classification to 13 Reasons Why Season 2

16 May 2018

Chief Censor David Shanks warns parents and caregivers of vulnerable children and teenagers to be prepared for the return of 13 Reasons Why Read more

It's not everyone's fiction

09 March 2018

A short film by young filmmakers, part of our 'Minds Over media' campaign. Read more about the short film

Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence - Stage 3

04 July 2017

Our research into young people's thoughts and experiences on viewing sexual violence in media. Read more about our research on young people viewing sexual violence

Recent classification decisions

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

24/05/2018 - R16: Violence, offensive language and content that may disturb Read more about Shadow of the Tomb Raider

What’s it about? Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the third game in the 2013 reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. It follows archaeologist and raider of tombs Lara Croft who, accompanied by her friend Jonah, travels to Latin America in pursuit of Trinity, a paramilitary organization dedicated to investigating the supernatural. In the previous game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, it was revealed that Trinity was responsible for Lara’s father’s death. Lara pursues the group to Mexico, where she discovers that they are looking for a Mayan relic which they intend to use to reshape the world. While trying to prevent Trinity from getting hold of the relic, Lara inadvertently sets off a Mayan apocalypse. She must now stop Trinity from fulfilling their goals while attempting to save the world.

What to expect? Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a fantastical adventure of survival and discovery set in the often hostile Peruvian jungle. While the game focusses primarily on exploration and puzzle-solving, it contains regular acts of bloody combat violence and non-interactive sequences of gore-based horror and cruelty. The pervading sense of physical danger to Lara also adds to the impact. There is frequent use of offensive language. These depictions are likely to inure younger audiences to violence and its consequences more generally, as well as disturb them.

Older teenagers and adults have the ability to contextualise these elements as part of an action-adventure game.

11/04/2018 - R13: Violence and offensive language Read more about God of War (2018)

What’s it about? God of War (2018) marks a new chapter in this long-running video game franchise. A third-person action series originally based on Greek mythology, this entry finds anti-hero Kratos living quietly in the snowy ranges of Scandinavia. But this is the domain of the Norse gods, and they do not appreciate his presence. With his wife’s passing, Kratos and son Atreus set out across these dangerous lands, to scatter her ashes from the highest peak.

What to expect? A spectacular adventure in Norse mythology, players guide Kratos and son through the frequent combat scenarios of their characterful story. With each strike of Kratos’ axe, the blood of mythic creatures sprays in the air and spatters the ground. Yet this combat remains arcade-like, with opponents flung aside or able to be air-juggled – where successive strikes keep them airborne. Stronger injury occurs with combat executions, but these are brief brutalities – likely to disturb children, but able to be properly contextualised by teenagers. While extended boss fights become bloody, the dominant effect is of larger than life, superhero combat. Alongside some use of highly offensive language, the violence ensures that God of War (2018) is best restricted to those aged 13 and over.

09/03/2018 - R16: Violence, offensive language and content that may disturb Read more about Far Cry 5

What’s it about? Far Cry 5 is an open world first-person shooter set in the fictional Hope County of Montana, USA. After an attempt to arrest Joseph Seed, ‘Father’ of the cult Project at Eden’s Gate, the cult begin their doomsday insurrection. Moving swiftly, they take down communications and block roads into and out of Hope County. With no one else to save them, the player helps foment a citizen resistance to take back their lands, and their people. Alongside the singleplayer campaign, which can also be played co-operatively with friends, there is an extensive map-making ‘Arcade’ mode for people to play, create, and share their own scenarios online.

 What to expect? The game primarily deals with violence, cruelty, and crime. The Eden cultists rob, murder, torture, and kidnap in the name of religious insurrection. This is to show the brutality and viciousness of the cult members towards those who would oppose their Father, and motivate the player’s own violent intervention. A free-form game, it lets players use a variety of ways to go about engaging the cult, from picking them off with a rifle, to quietly snapping necks, or taking them head on in bloody shootouts and explosions. All told, the game features repetitive bloody violence and scenes of cruelty in real world scenarios, which are likely to disturb younger players. Alongside the frequent use of highly offensive language, the game is clearly not suitable for children or younger teenagers. As older teens and adults have the requisite maturity to deal with the stronger content of the game, Far Cry 5 is best restricted to those aged 16 years and over.

09/03/2018 - R16: Violence, cruelty and offensive language Read more about A Way Out

What’s it about? A Way Out is a cinematic action adventure game for two people to play cooperatively. Players assume the role of either Leo or Vincent as the men first meet in an American prison. United by a desire for revenge on Cartel leader Harvey, they join forces to break out of jail and take him down. The game is unusual for its use of a flexible split screen presentation, resizing to emphasize particular character moments. 

What to expect? A characterful crime caper of fisticuffs, daring escapes, and explosive chases. The gunfights, which use traditional third person shooter mechanics, have players diving between cover as they gun down their numerous enemies. Their adventure contains regular scenes of limited violence, and some extended sequences of bloody shoot outs. This violence, and particularly a cruel torture scene, is likely to be disturbing to younger audiences. Coupled with the frequent use of highly offensive language, and some limited sexual content, A Way Out is best restricted to those aged 16 years and over.

28/02/2018 - R16: Graphic violence, sexual violence, rape, cruelty and offensive language Read more about Red Sparrow

What’s it about? A spy-thriller following Dominicka, an injured prima ballerina recruited as a Russian intelligence officer. Once in the field, Dominicka is sent to Budapest to make contact with a CIA agent, Nate, and discover the identity of the mole in the Russian government leaking information to the Americans.

What to expect? Red Sparrow combines the high stakes of espionage with gritty rumination on the power of the state over the individual. Dominicka faces the crushing weight of misogyny at every turn: her life is seemingly controlled by the violence, sexual or otherwise, visited upon her body by the men in her life. This violence is played out on screen in hyper-real detail, and the end result is an emotionally compelling but disturbing film. There is also some minor use of offensive language. Red Sparrow’s intended audience is clearly older teenagers and adults, who have the intellectual and emotional maturity to contextualise its cruelty and violence as part of a wider discourse on bodily freedom and state control.

Younger viewers are highly likely to be shocked and disturbed by the extent and degree of the film’s sexual violence and significant violence and cruelty.

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.

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!

  • TTYP: Thinking critically

    Video transcript - TTYP: 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!

  • TTYP: Getting started is easy

    Video transcript - TTYP: 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!

  • TTYP: A handy guide to brain development

    Video transcript - TTYP: 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!

  • TTYP: Concrete vs abstract thinkers

    Video transcript - TTYP: Concrete vs abstract thinkers
  • TTYP: Flipping your lid

    Video transcript - TTYP: Flipping your lid
  • TTYP: Suicide

    Video transcript - TTYP: Suicide
  • TTYP: Checking your emotions

    Video transcript - TTYP: Checking your emotions

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