Second Trailer for ‘Shame’ Keeps Us Talking about It and It’s NC-17 Rating


Shame trailer
Photo: Fox Searchlight

The only reason to release another trailer for Steve McQueen’s Shame is to keep people buzzing about it, be it the raves out of the fall festival circuit (my positive review is right here) or the NC-17 rating, which Fox Searchlight is embracing and wearing like a badge of honor.

In fact, in an interview with The Wrap, the NC-17 rating for Shame had National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) president John Fithian encouraging more risk taking in filmmaking as he said, “It would have destroyed [Shame] to cut it down to an R rating… Too many filmmakers and too many studios do that, and I applaud Steve McQueen and Fox Searchlight for sticking to their guns. This is the kind of film that the NC-17 is designed for, and I think we need more bold filmmakers and distributors to make content appropriate for the rating and release it that way.”

The confusion with the NC-17 rating is that it means viewers will be subjected to pornography, a subject I recently delved into when reviewing Pier Paolo Pasonlini’s Salo, of the 120 Days of Sodom. People have their own definitions for pornography, but pornography is something Shame definitely is not.

To that point, Fithian addresses the birth of the NC-17 rating and when it took over for the prior “X” rating and the fallout of that decision, “The MPAA and NATO screwed up – we didn’t get the X rating copyrighted, and the pornographers stole it… That shadow lingers, and so do myths about the NC-17.”

I’m not sure if there is anything that can be done at this point, to reverse the stigma associated with the rating, but perhaps Shame is the first step in a brand of bold, new filmmaking. An idea that’s actually quite exciting.

Shame hits theaters on December 2 and as I said, you can read my review Apple.