Keira Knightley Is Smoking
Sherman Oaks, California
Thank heaven for Europeans.
In May, the Motion Picture Association of America pandered to the intolerance of many U.S. parents by announcing that smoking by adult characters would become a factor in the trade organization's rating of movies.
“In the past, illegal teen smoking has been a factor in the rating of films,” the MPAA said in a statement. “Now, all smoking will be considered.”
“Three questions will have particular weight for our rating board when considering smoking in a film: Is the smoking pervasive? Does the film glamorize smoking? And, is there an historic or other mitigating context?” MPAA chairman Dan Glickman elaborated.
Consequently, I was thrilled to see that the predominantly European makers of the new film Atonement released a publicity still (pictured) of Keira Knightley lighting a cigarette.
Maybe the filmmakers did not know about the States' current hysteria over the use of cigarettes in marketing. Maybe they knew and didn't care. Maybe the release of the photo was a subtle protest of the smoking bans which have recently been enacted throughout Western Europe. Whatever the motivation, it's refreshing to be on the receiving end of true cultural diversity, to be reminded of a place and time when people made up their own minds about smoking.
I haven’t seen the film (which is rated R for “disturbing war images, language and some sexuality”), so I assume the scene in the still is fleeting and isolated, and the smoking occurs in a historical setting – side-stepping two of the MPAA’s restrictive factors.
But doesn't Keira Knightley glamorize anything she does?