VietNamNet Bridge – The number of movies rated for mature audiences has peaked since the institution of the rating system in Vietnam in 2007.
Increase of violence and sex in Vietnamese cinema.
There have been 20 films released in the country which have been rated for audiences of 16 years old and the older. And, although the ratings system is relatively new to the country, Trinh Thanh Nha, a screenwriter and member of the Central Council for Film Appraisal, commented, "A couple decades ago, it was much easier to control the distribution of foreign films. Before Vietnam's admission into the WTO movies deemed be overly violent or sexual were strictly banned. But the situation has become more complicated as we integrate into the world economy, leading to a number of alterations and adjustments of regulations on cinema to fit the new era."
In 2009, Vietnam added a regulation classifying films based on their appropriateness determined by age. This responsibility was assigned to the Central Council for Film Appraisal.
“Films containing violent and sexually provocative scenes have a negative effect on society. Those movies that promote an immoral lifestyle or go against traditional Vietnamese mores should not just be labeled 16+, they should be banned and discarded as 'cultural waste'," Nha added.
In recent years, several Vietnamese filmmakers have had to change the content of their movies to comply with government regulations. One of the most notable cases was a film entitled "Trung Uy" or "Lieutenant", which had to be cut by 40% of its sexual scenes.
Several filmmakers have spent out of their own budgets in order to have their films pre-screened by officials at the Central Council for Film Appraisal for assurance their works would not be censored after release.
While there is a consensus among Vietnamese experts that certain material can be psychologically harmful to minors, regulations to control the content of films seems to be lagging behind.