WASHINGTON (August 6, 2003) -- The Office for Film and Broadcasting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (OFB) has revised one of its movie classifications, changing the rating "A-IV - adults with reservations," to "L -limited adult audience; films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling."
The change goes into effect November 1. Movies previously rated A-IV will gradually be moved into the L classification.
Gerri Paré, director of the Office for Film and Broadcasting, said the change reflects how more films are featuring disturbing elements that would limit the appeal to the mass audience despite the presence of other positive aspects.
"With movies being more explicit these days in terms of violence, language, sexuality and themes, the designation 'L - limited adult audience' offers a more cautionary assessment than the previous 'A-IV, adults, with reservations,' which some interpreted as just slightly problematic but otherwise equivalent of a straightforward 'A-III - adults' classification," Ms. Paré said. "The revised designation is clearer. While an 'L' film in not expressly 'O -morally offensive,' it is likely to contain material that many Catholics would find troublesome."
An example of a current film which would have been designated "L" if the new system were in place is "28 Days Later," whose gruesome scenes of carnage tended to outweigh its philosophical concerns."
The OFB classifications indicate a film's suitability for children, teenagers and adults. A-I is general patronage; A-II - adults and adolescents; A-III, - adults; A-IV - adults, with reservations, which designates problematic films that, while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and careful analysis to avoid wrong interpretations; and O-morally offensive.
The USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting reviews all mainstream movies for moral suitability as well as technical and artistic considerations and assigns a moral classification to each. Reviews are published weekly in Catholic publications, on the Web at www.usccb.org, and can be accessed through a toll-free movie review line 1-800-311-4CCC.
The Office for Film and Broadcasting is funded by the U.S. Bishops' Annual Catholic Communication Campaign, which supports national media efforts. Information on the Catholic Communication Campaign can be found at www.usccb.org/ccc.