Due to its strong language and violent situations, Michael Tucker and Petra
Epperlein's Gunner Palace - a documentary depicting a group of soldiers living in a bombed-out
mansion once belonging to Saddam Hussein - was originally given an R rating by the National Association of Theater
Owners (NATIO) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). That rating was overturned by an MPAA appeal
board, after an "emotional appeal" from the filmmakers and distribution comany Palm Pictures convinced them that
teenagers who are old enough to be recruited by the military should be able to see the film.
Now, NATO chief John Fithian and former MPAA president Jack Valenti are releasing a statement to accompany the rating, in order to warn parents that the film includes content usually excluded from a PG-13 film. Fithian is quoted by the Hollywood Reporter, defending the cautionary warning: "The language in the picture exceeds that contained in any PG-13-rated film in history. It's important for parents to understand that before making decisions about their children's moviegoing."
Meanwhile, Andy Robbins, marketing director of Palm Pictures, responds:
I'm not sure what the statement adds that the rating doesn't take care of itself [...] I believe we won the appeal on the basis of the fact that in the context of war, the language isn't profane but heard with anxiety and emotion behind it. If the military has unfettered access to our youth, shouldn't our youth have unfettered access to our military?
will be released in select cities this weekend.