Abdellatif Kechiche’s racy Palme d’Or winner “Blue is the Warmest Color” is, unsurprisingly, rated NC-17 for its frank (and lengthy) depictions of lesbian sex between a teenager (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and her older lover (Lea Seydoux), but that won’t stop New York’s IFC Center from admitting teenagers under 17 wanting to watch the film.
How is that possible? The rating, like every one granted by the Motion Picture Associated of America, is merely a recommendation to theater managers — the MPAA is a trade association representing the major studios, not a government agency — and John Vanco, senior vice president and general manager of the IFC Center, has simply chosen to ignore it.
In an emailed statement to The New York Times, Vanco wrote, “This is not a movie for young children, but it is our judgment that it
is not inappropriate for mature, inquiring teenagers who are looking
ahead to the emotional challenges and opportunities that adulthood holds.” He told the Times that he plans to admit “high school age patrons.”
In France, where the film is currently playing, “Blue is the Warmest Color” has a “12 Rating,” roughly the equivalent of the MPAA’s PG-13 one.