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DIRECTOR LOUIS MALLE AND NEW LINE RESPOND TO MPAA RATING OF 'DAMAGE'

 Studio and Director Question Ratings System on
 Eve of Film's Los Angeles Premiere
 LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Charging the Motion Picture Association of America with "aesthetic myopia" in determining the ratings for feature films, director Louis Malle today responded to the R rating given to his New Line Cinema film "Damage," which premieres Tuesday in Los Angeles.
 "Damage" had been rated NC-17 by the MPAA Ratings Board on Oct. 28. The rating was upheld by the MPAA Appeals Board following a hearing on Nov. 12.
 Said Malle: "The minor changes I have reluctantly made in one scene in order to get an R rating are unimportant and, in fact, won't be noticed. That this result was achieved is, however, not the point. I am deeply shocked by the unfairness, inadequacy and aesthetic myopia of the MPAA ratings procedure, which managed to cloak Damage' in an aura of pornography. Some people tell me this is good publicity. I believe the opposite. It creates false expectations in the audience about a film which I know to be one of my very best."
 "It was our goal to secure an R rating for Damage' if that could be done without compromising the artistic integrity of Louis Malle's original vision," said Michael Lynne, president and chief operating officer for New Line. "A very minor change in the film has achieved this. However, our experience with the MPAA rating procedures on this film has convinced us that it is essential that meaningful changes be made in these procedures so that filmmakers are not subjected to an arbitrary, draining and unfair process."
 In "Damage," Jeremy Irons portrays Stephen Fleming, a politician who has an illicit affair with his son's fiance Anna Barton, played by Juliette Binoche. The film opens in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 23.
 Malle -- director of such acclaimed films as "Au Revoir Les Enfants," "Atlantic City" and "Pretty Baby" -- based "Damage" on the best-selling novel by Josephine Hart. The film also stars Miranda Richardson, Rupert Graves, Ian Bannen and Leslie Caron. "Damage" is produced by Malle and co-produced by Vincent Malle and Simon Relph. The film was adapted for the screen by David Hare.
 -0- 12/15/92
 /CONTACT: John West, PMK Los Angeles, 213-954-4000; Mara Buxbaum, PMK New York, 212-582-1111; Christina Kounelias or Mark Cheatham of New Line Cinema Publicity/Los Angeles, 310-854-5811, or Mary Donovan or Dana Laufer of New Line Cineama Publicity/New York, 212-649-4900/


CO: New Line Cinema ST: California IN: ENT SU:

JB-KJ -- LA012 -- 7128 12/15/92 11:02 EST
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Date:Dec 15, 1992
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