Nov 7, 2019

The 15th Cinema One Originals festival opens tonight, Nov. 7, but in its wake comes some distressing news: “Metamorphosis,” which tells of the journey to identity of an intersex person—a story rarely told in mainstream platforms—was given an X rating by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) last Nov. 6.

An X rating is given to films deemed unsuitable for public exhibition. According to reports, the MTRCB gave “Metamorphosis” an X rating due to the “sexually explicit scenes” it contains.

In a Twitter thread, “Metamorphosis” director J.E. Tiglao defends his film, saying “the daring scenes aim to humanize the character who is an intersex. Intersex people are victims of stigma and misconceptions due to their unconventional anatomy. They were called ‘freaks’ and ‘abnormal.’”

Ang mga eksenang ito ay hindi lamang purong kalibugan. Ito ay pagpapakita ng kanilang pagkatao, ng kanilang sexual desires, ng kanilang pagkalito at pagkabigo—mga bagay na pinagdadaanan nating LAHAT, intersex man o hindi.

Tiglao adds that they will try to re-edit the film “to lessen the daring scenes,” but not to the point of rendering the film’s message moot.

Overnight, netizens have expressed support for the director and the film, as seen in replies to Tiglao’s original thread and under the hashtag #LabanMeta. Individuals have also expressed interest in private screenings for the film’s original cut.

Many have also aired concerns over MTRCB’s rating system, citing how there are other films with more sensual or controversial content that get the green light for public viewing without cuts.

It’s frustrating to think that this kind of censorship is still happening—now, even though Philippine cinema is already celebrating its centennial. You’d think we’d have become more open, at least, with allowing unconventional narratives to be told. But with the recent decision of MTRCB, it seems we’re still stuck, somewhere.

Last year, the MTRCB also blocked another independent film (“Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap”) from getting nationwide screening slots because of the connotations of the film’s title. [READ: The fate of ‘Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap’ defines how local art gets literally hostaged via SCOUT]

The team behind “Metamorphosis” will be appealing for the film’s rating today.

Cinema One Originals 2019 opens tonight.


UPDATE, Nov. 7: MTRCB has just reclassified the film to R-16. According to Tiglao, “NOTHING has been compromised—no shots or scenes have been cut.”


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TAGS: cinema one Cinema One Originals cinema one originals 2019 Film indie film metamorphosis metamorphosis film metamorphosis x rating philippine cinema