Lars von Trier's hyper-violent film The House that Jack Built already caused a massive stir when it premiered at Cannes back in May. The thing was so brutal, so full of graphic mutilation and child murder scenes, around 100 people stormed out midway through. But it sounds like a handful of Cannes moviegoers aren't the only ones who have beef with von Trier's new film—now the MPAA is apparently pissed, too.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Motion Picture Association of America has threatened sanctions on IFC Films after the studio held a one-night-only screening of an unrated director's cut of The House that Jack Built Wednesday.
The MPAA reportedly isn't mad that the film (about a sadistic serial killer played by Matt Dillon) is "two and a half hours of self-reflexive torture porn," though. They're just upset that IFC Films showed the unrated version of von Trier's new movie so close to the release of the R-rated version, which is slated to hit theaters in December. That's apparently against the rules.
"The MPAA has communicated to the distributor, IFC Films, that the screening of an unrated version of the film in such close proximity to the release of the rated version—without obtaining a waiver—is in violation of the rating system's rules," the MPAA said, according to THR. "Failure to comply with the rules can create confusion among parents and undermine the rating system—and may result in the imposition of sanctions against the film's submitter."
Basically, the MPAA is worried that people might've assumed they were going to see the R-rated version of the brutal, gory movie, but then got tickets to the gorier and even more brutal unrated version by mistake. The association also seems particularly concerned about parents falling for the mixup but, uh, it's unclear how many people were really planning to take their kids to see Matt Dillon slice off a woman's breast in The House that Jack Built, anyway.
IFC will now have to schedule a hearing to sort out this whole mess. Depending on the outcome, the MPAA could revoke the R rating from The House that Jack Built or slap IFC with as much as a 90-day suspension from the ratings system entirely. For now, though, the normal, R-rated version of von Trier's latest will open nationwide on December 14, for all those parents out there patiently awaiting a chance to scar their kids for life.
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