Further cementing its reputation as the cool mom of New York City’s arthouse theater scene, the IFC Center has announced its intention to let teenagers see Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’ R-rated documentary about Edward Snowden, even if they are not accompanied by a parent or guardian. The theater made the announcement with a statement on its website:
While the MPAA has assigned CITIZENFOUR a rating of R, recommending that no one under 17 be admitted without a parent or guardian, IFC Center feels that the film is appropriate viewing for mature adolescents. Accordingly, we will admit high school-age patrons at our discretion.
The language about letting in adolescent patrons “at our discretion” implies a scenario where ticket takers pick and choose, in a bouncer-like fashion, which teens look cool enough to see the movie and which don’t. But a sign posted outside the IFC Center reveals that all socially minded high schoolers are welcome, especially those on the cusp of voting age. “Not only do we feel the film is suitable for teens, we feel it is essential viewing for anyone who may vote in the next election,” it says.
This marks the third time in recent memory that the IFC Center has bucked the ratings system and allowed teenagers to see movies the MPAA has judged unfit for young eyes. Earlier this year, it admitted teenagers to screenings of Boyhood, and before that it allowed them to catch Blue Is The Warmest Color. By letting them see Citizenfour, the IFC Center is once again demonstrating that it trusts young people to come to their own conclusions about sensitive topics. Either that, or it’s working with the U.S. government to keep tabs on potential dissidents. But it’s probably that first thing.