From X to R-16
Jose Enrique Tiglao’s controversial film “Metamorphosis” will be screened as scheduled, despite news that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has given it an “X” rating (not fit for public exhibition), according to Cinema One Originals festival director Ronald Arguelles.
After a second review, it now has an R-16 rating, Arguelles reported during the opening ceremony of the 15th Cinema One Originals at the Ayala Manila Bay in Pasay City on Thursday night.
“I was told that they would cut two seconds from the controversial masturbation scene, which I really didn’t find too sensitive. Yes, there’s an exposure of the genitals, but only because this is needed in the story. Anyway, it’s only prosthetics,” said Arguelles of the film about an intersex person, or someone born with two sex organs.
“There isn’t even a pumping scene and the sexual act is only implied. Hindi naman bastos,” Arguelles insisted. He also reported that another festival entry, Kevin Dayrit’s “O,” received an R-18 rating.
“The film really earned it, though, because it has several graphic scenes. We’re just sad because we will not be able to screen it in the two additional venues we have this year—SM Megamall and SM Manila—because they don’t show R-18 films,” he reported.
Arguelles said the new policy of the MTRCB, which previously did not review films screened in local festivals, has greatly affected Cinema One financially. “I don’t know what happened to the board’s previous agreement with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) that exempts festival films from review. I was told of the new memo only two months ago. I actually don’t know how we are still able to serve you food during opening night,” he quipped.
This year’s jury comprises award-winning indie director Lav Diaz, Busan International Film Festival programmer Park Sungho, actor Paulo Avelino and writer Emil Hofilena.
The festival awards show will be held on Nov. 15 at Dolphy Theater inside the ABS-CBN Compound in Quezon City.
When asked about innovations in the festival, Arguelles said: “We are now under ABS-CBN Films, led by Inang (Olivia Lamasan). Under her, we tried to come up with big promotions. We now have Regine Velasquez in one of our films (Nigel Santos’ “Yours Truly, Shirley”). In terms of content, the films have now become more commercial and more accessible. Her team also helped us a lot with casting. They helped convince Regine to take on the project.”
The following are also included in this edition’s lineup: Dustin Celestino and Dustin Uy’s “Utopia,” Eve Baswel’s “Tia Madre,” Victor Villanueva’s “Lucid,” Giancarlo Abrahan’s “Sila-Sila” and Denise O’Hara’s “Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo.”
Regine, who attended the opening ceremony with husband Ogie Alcasid and his daughter Leila, said she found this year’s lineup very interesting. “These are stories that you won’t see in a commercial setup—something about vampires and intersex persons,” she said.
“I also remember that there was a time when the industry wasn’t doing so well, and it was the indie movies that kept us afloat. Festivals give filmmakers more freedom to create and experiment. I hope people will patronize our films so that we can create more,” she declared.
The festival will run until Nov. 17, and will be screened in TriNoma, Glorietta, Gateway, Ayala Manila Bay and Power Plant Makati. There will also be screenings at Vista Cinemas in Iloilo, Evia Lifestyle, Cinema Centenario, Cinema ’76, Black Maria, UP Cine Adarna and the FDCP Cinematheque Manila.