Iza: X should spark dialogue not discord
No, actress Iza Calzado never imagined she would ever be the star of an X-rated film at this point in her career.
After all, she had just won best performer at the Osaka Asian Film Festival for the “disapproved” film, Jerrold Tarog’s “Bliss,” and being labeled a “porn star” was the most unexpected result of such an international recognition.
“I did know that the film was going to break my ‘good girl’ image, but I had no idea it would be rated X,” she quipped, laughing.
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board had given the horror film an X rating on its first review. Producers have requested for a second screening.
Turning serious, Iza admitted: “I was saddened by the news. I was thinking more along the lines of an R rating for the current form of the film.”
She pointed out: “I have seen foreign films that have shown much more violence and nudity than our film, so it makes me wonder if they have a different mindset in rating local films.”
She, however, refused to be swallowed up by the intrigues, choosing to accentuate the positive. Instead of discord, she expressed the hope that the controversy would spark discussion.
“This is an opportunity to sit down and initiate a proper dialogue with the board, to understand their side and defend our position, too,” she explained.
This issue should not be reduced to a single sound bite, pitting “artists against the MTRCB,” she insisted. “Rather, it should be about how we can work together to give the audience the best version of the movie that they deserve.”
She feels strongly that Filipinos should get to see the acclaimed film in its integral form.
“It is a story about the vicious cycle of abuse. It is a powerful eye-opener that will make you think about the kind of oppression and exploitation we go through,” she asserted. “Its message resonates in all sectors of our society. Yes, we all should be aware of the many patterns of abuse … and wake up from them.”
In more ways than one, “Bliss” marks a departure for the actress, who is often seen in drama serials on television (like “A Love to Last”).
“It is one of my most daring and challenging works to date,” she acknowledged. “It opened my mind to the many possibilities of making a mark in world cinema. It made me want to tackle edgier pieces that would inspire critical thinking.”
On a personal note, she remarked: “This movie certainly pushed my limits as an actress, and I enjoyed going out of my comfort zone.”
She has a simple message to “our friends at the MTRCB.”
“I look forward to learning more about your views and thoughts about our film. I hope that you will keep an open mind during our discussion, and we will do the same,” she said.
She remains willfully optimistic for the audience and the future of local cinema: “I hope that one day, we will be confident enough to trust that the Filipino youth, as young adults, have the proper moral compass to legally drive, drink and watch nudity, and have that mindset that we are at par with other countries. No more double standards.” “Bliss” will have a special screening today at UP Cine Adarna.