An uncensored screening of Lars von Trier's controversial serial-killer movie, 'The House That Jack Built,' violated MPAA ratings rules

IFC FilmsMatt Dillon in ‘The House That Jack Built’
  • IFC Films is facing sanctions for violating the MPAA’s ratings rules after screening the uncensored version of Lars von Trier’s controversial serial-killer movie, “The House That Jack Built,” on Wednesday without a waiver.
  • “The effectiveness of the MPAA ratings depends on our ability to maintain the trust and confidence of American parents,” the MPAA said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • According to THR, the sanctions could include revoking the movie’s R rating. That version comes to theatres December 14.
  • The uncensored cut prompted 100 walkouts at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year for its depictions of violence against women and children.

IFC Films treated audiences in select theatres across the country to a one-night-only screening of the uncensored director’s cut of Lars von Trier’s controversial serial killer movie, “The House That Jack Built,” on Wednesday.

But now IFC, the movie’s distributor, is facing sanctions for violating the ratings rules of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the MPAA said that IFC violated the ratings system’s rules by screening the unrated version of the movie without a waiver in such close proximity to the release of the R-rated cut, which comes to theatres December 14.

READ MORE: The uncensored cut of Lars von Trier’s serial-killer movie that prompted 100 walkouts at Cannes will play in theatres for one night only

“The effectiveness of the MPAA ratings depends on our ability to maintain the trust and confidence of American parents,” the MPAA said. “That’s why the rules clearly outline the proper use of the ratings. 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.”

According to THR, sanctions could include revoking “The House That Jack Built’s” R rating, or suspending the ratings process for other IFC movies currently waiting on the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA), which conducts ratings for the MPAA and National Association of Theatre Owners. Sanctions will be determined after a CARA hearing.

IFC acquired “The House That Jack Built” after it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, where the uncensored cut prompted over 100 people to walk out because of its grisly depictions of violence against women and children, particularly a scene where two kids’ heads are blown off by a rifle.

Critics called it “one of the most unpleasant movie-going experiences of my life,” “vile,” and “repulsive.” However, those who sat through the whole screening at Cannes gave the film a standing ovation, and there was some positive social-media reaction after Wednesday’s screening.

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