MGM Accepts NC-17 For "Bent"
by Mark Rabinowitz/indieWIRE
In a reaction to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)’s NC-17 rating of MGM’s upcoming film, “Bent,” the distrib’s president of worldwide marketing Gerry Rich stated that “the early scenes of explicit sexuality are absolutely necessary to the story.” The film, directed by Sean Mathias and written by Martin Sherman, is based on Sherman’s award-winning stage play that first brought the Nazi persecution of homosexuals into the spotlight. The story involves Max (Clive Owen), a debonair playboy, living in the Berlin club scene when he finds himself on the run from the SS. While in a concentration camp, Max meets and forms a powerful bond with Horst (Lothaire Bluteau), a fellow prisoner. Rich added that “the meaning of sex changes for the main character as we follow his journey from the promiscuous club scene of 1930’s Berlin to…a concentration camp where he is forbidden to…even look at the one person with whom he has formed a powerful bond.” “We respect and support (Sherman’s) and (Mathias’) vision.” added MGM’s president of worldwide theatrical distribution Larry Gleason. “The material is, by nature, graphic and controversial. But to tell this story without portraying the era honestly and with integrity would compromise the power of the film.”
MGM is not the first distributor to accept an NC-17 rating. Harvey and Bob Weinstein (MIRAMAX) set up a stand-alone distribution company, Excalibur, to release Larry Clark’s “Kids.” In addition, in 1968 United Artists released John Schlesinger’s then X-rated “Midnight Cowboy” which went on to win a best picture Oscar and in 1973 UA released Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Last Tango In Paris,” which received Oscar nominations for the director and Marlon Brando for best actor. Set to be released in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto on November 26th, “Bent” stars Owen, Bluteau, Ian McKellen, Brian Webber and Mick Jagger and was produced by Michael Solinger and Dixie Linder.