Carmelita Leow, who writes for “Candle”, a publication by the National University of Singapore Catholic Students Society, gives her perspective.

15.jpgAS I WAS searching for movie reviews recently, it occurred to me that there are certain ages where we can feel caught in between. For example, I’m turning 20 this year. Yet, while I’m no longer an adolescent, I’m "mature enough" to watch M18 movies, but "not yet mature enough" for R21 shows.

Have you ever wondered, what is the difference of a year? Moreover, can maturity be measured by age? While the Singapore censorship board has their own rating system, in which sexual content, nudity, vulgarities and other sensitive and mature content such as homosexuality are used as a gauge, are we aware of how a Catholic censorship system works? Is the secular rating system adequate or in line with the church’s teachings?

Movies have become a mainstream form of entertainment for all groups and ages. With more families owning a video player, movies are easily available and accessible. Does that mean it is alright to watch all kinds of movies?

Some time ago, when "The Da Vinci Code" was screened, due to its controversial nature, Catholics were advised to boycott it. I have a confession to make. I watched the show. I was enthralled with the book when it was first published and the movie was for me, a chance to actually watch the story unfold and visualize the descriptions made in the book.

Of course I knew which parts of it were real and which were fiction and for me, the movie was like all other movies – a storyline produced by a script-writer and produced and directed according to the imaginations and visions of men. In other words, it was fiction – just a show.

The hype created by the controversy of "The Da Vinci Code" led on to many articles and booklets that helped educate and clean up the grey areas of the Catholic faith, which helped in the faith formation of many. However, we do not have the luxury of having articles and pamphlets that help clarify the grey areas of many other blockbusters such as "Brokeback Mountain", "Spiderman 3" and "The Exorcist".

Navigating around the little doubts planted by these shows proves to be tricky. When everyone else is talking about the latest show – the plot, the actors and the marvellous screenplay, does it really matter if the show has scenes of violence and/or some sexual content? Movies and short films that win prestigious awards at film festivals are normally those that portray and discuss taboo or controversial issues, and most of them would have some form of violence or sexual content too. Is the crucial question about whether we should watch a movie then?

Or is it about whether we have sufficient resources – be it in the form of books or people – to help us make sense and navigate, with the guidance of the faith, through the many potholes of discrepancies present in movies?

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