A 5-second rule may apply to movie sex scenes in Vietnam, thanks to controversial proposal

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Filmmakers in Vietnam are speaking out against new rules that would affect sex scenes in movies. The outcry came after a proposal was announced by Ngo Phuong Lan, the head of the Vietnamese national movie bureau, during a meeting on Friday, according to newspaper Thanh Nien. If imposed, the restrictions would limit the length of sex scenes to five seconds, plus allow no more than three in a film.

Filmmakers and producers have reportedly been upset by the proposal, arguing that it would hinder artistic freedom and that scenes should be judged on content rather than length. Acclaimed director Nguyen Thanh Van pointed out that a short duration doesn’t automatically mean a scene isn’t graphic. “Some shots are under a second but they are unbearable anyway,” said Van.

Another point of contention with the new guidelines is the fact that they touch on female nudity but say nothing of men. It’s unclear whether the proposal meant to imply that male nudity is permitted or not, but whatever the case, critics are calling it sexist, according to Thanh Nien. Many reportedly see it as acceptance of male nudity, but another controversial possibility is that the issue was just overlooked completely, given that female nudity is more common in movies.

In addition to cracking down on sex scenes, the proposal seeks to introduce a new film rating system. One notable change would be the addition of a category for films only considered appropriate for those 18 and over for the first time. Sexual censorship in Vietnam, however, is nothing new, as THR points out. Under the country’s existing sexual content guidelines, many scenes from Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, had to be cut for its theatrical run. A watered-down version of the film opened in March with 20 of its 125 minutes removed.

The national movie bureau hasn’t put the new proposal into effect yet. The public’s comments will be taken into consideration before any final decisions are made. The agreed-upon system will then be implemented in early 2016.