Parents Television Council angered by decision to let teens see lesbian sex scenes

A New York cinema has been allowing people under the age of 18 to see Palme d'Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Colour

Blue Is The Warmest Colour, the Palme d'Or-winning film already notorious for its steamy scenes of lesbian sex, has angered America's Parents Television Council.

The organisation, fastidious in its attention to what is and what is not appropriate viewing for children, has complained about a New York arthouse cinema's decision to allow teenagers to see the movie.

The film, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, has been given a NC-17 rating in the US, meaning no-one aged 17 and under can see the film. However, the ratings system is not enforced by law.

John Vanco, the general manager of New York's IFC Centre, explained the decision to let young audiences see the movie.

"This is not a movie for young children, but it is our judgment that it is appropriate for mature, inquiring teenagers who are looking ahead to the emotional challenges and opportunities that adulthood holds," he said.

The Parents Television Council, which has previously complained about TV wrestling shows and the MTV VMAs, penned an open letter to Mr Vanco.

PTC President Tim Winter said he was "deeply distressed" to hear that young people were seeing the film, writing: "Media accounts regarding the film's content indicate that it features, among other graphic sexual content, a 15-minute long explicit sex scene. In a recent interview, actress Lea Seydoux, who plays Emma in the film, said that during the filming of this centerpiece scene that she felt 'like a prostitute'. Consequently, the MPAA's assigned rating of NC-17 for explicit sexual content is not in dispute.

"By what measure will the IFC Center be ascertaining the maturity of the children to whom you will sell tickets? At what age, or what unascertained maturity level, will a child be denied entry?

"Simply put, you and the IFC Center are in no position to determine which children are 'mature' enough to view explicit sexual content without the presence of a parent or guardian."

Blue Is The Warmest Colour has been assigned an 18 rating in the UK, but in France, 12-year-olds will be able to see it.