Despite of rating system, it's people's choice

As foreign movies invade local cinemas, awareness of movie lovers in Cambodia toward rating system is still at ground-level.

People buying movie tickets at Legend Cinema. / Photo by Vann Chanvetey It has become a custom that one going to see a movie has a bottle of coke in one hand and a box of pop-corn in the other hand.  In Cambodia, where there are two newly established cinemas bringing in foreign movies, the movie lovers here also adapt to this custom. Thank to these two cinemas: Legend and the Cineplex Cinemas for introducing this new experience of enjoying up-to-date movies to Cambodians. When asked about what the upcoming blockbusters are from the box office, young Cambodian must excitedly list down their favorites, but it is believed only few of them would notice which rank the movie is rated.

“I went to see my favorite movie, Avengers, at Legend Cinemas. Although I’m 17, I did not have to show my ID card to see the movie,” said Rithy Lomor Kesor, a 17-year-old Sisowath high school student, “I don’t even know what movie rating is.”        

According to Motion Picture Association of America, “Movie Rating” is a system ranking movies based on their content for a particular group of audience. There are five ranks: General Audience (G), Parental Guidance (PG), Parental Guidance for Children under 13 (PG-13, Restricted (R), and No Children under 17 (NC-17). This has been an international movie rating system used around the world.

Movie rating banner at Legend Cinema. / Photo by Vann Chanvetey Sin Chanchhaya, Director of Cinemas and Cultural Diffusion Department of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, says that: “Before we never put a restriction on the movie, but now it’s different since foreign movies are extendedly imported and screened at the cinemas. This is important as those foreign movies are made based on their cultural and social context [which some of Cambodian are not in favor of]. ”

Director of Legend Cinemas and Westec Media Limited, Michael Chai says that: “Legend screens movies and respects whatever rating given to them.” He also claims that audiences have to show their ID cards before buying ticket for any rated movies at Legend Cinema.  

He continues by saying that in case of children or young people under any certain age, it is parents’ responsibility when it goes down to deciding what movie is suitable for them to watch. “If a parent wants to bring a 6-year-old to watch Titanic [whose some scenes are not appropriate], it is within the parent’s power. It’s not for anybody to take. It’s just like parents can buy a beer, go home and give to their child. Why would they want to do that?”

When asked what actions the Ministry would take when any cinema exploited the policy, Chanchhaya says: “It is the Ministry’s requirement for all movies be checked by experts before screening. If any cinemas do not follow, first, we fine them and second, if the problem is unsolved, we file the case to the court.”

With cooperation from the Cinemas, signs, posters and warnings are always seen either at the ticket stance or entrance to the hall, and this isn’t what cinemas alone have to concern, but audiences themselves shall pay attention to. A 30-year-old Managing Director at the Cineplex Cinemas, Sao Sokny told the CambodiaCircles reporter that: “We have posters and signs at the ticket stance telling what each rating means, and I hope audiences spend some times to look at it before buying tickets.”

The world has been more opened with the availability of advanced technology. Within one click, anything can be found and people can watch any movie available on the Internet. “Soon, movie rating system will be out of date,” Michael Chai predicted, “So it is a part of education. People should be self-educated about the issue, and their choices shall be respected.”

When Cambodia adapts to the use of international movie rating system, it somehow paints a positive image on the country’s governance. Michael Chai comments that: “It [using the system] shows that Cambodia is an opened country. It is not a regime restricting people’s freedom of choice by dictatorship to what they can watch and cannot watch. The power goes to the people.” 

Article by: Vann Chanvetey
Photo by: Vann Chanvetey
To see more photos, CLICK HERE

About Writer:

Vetey profileVann Chanvetey is a sophomore of Media Management at the Department of Media and Communication (DMC), and also a junior at Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL). Writing is what Vann Chanvetey calls 'Creativity Booster' and it brings enjoyments to her life and also encourages her to study Journalism at the first place. She would devote her spare time to writing, blogging, and reading. She started working for the CambodiaCircles in November 2011. "I regard writing and reading as my closed firends," said Chanvetey.