MTRCB gives 'Barbie' 'PG' rating, says 'contentious scene' does not depict China's nine-dash line | Inquirer Entertainment

MTRCB gives ‘Barbie’ ‘PG’ rating, says ‘contentious scene’ does not depict China’s nine-dash line

/ 11:01 AM July 12, 2023


Image: Warner Bros via MTRCB

Updated 12:44 P.M.

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has allowed the local screening of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” saying that the cartoonish map does not depict China’s nine-dash line but the route of the make-believe journey of Barbie.


“Having conducted two review sessions, thorough deliberations, and consultations with relevant government agencies, including a legal expert on the West Philippine Sea, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has given the film ‘Barbie’ a Parental Guidance (‘PG’) rating, which means viewers below thirteen (13) years old must be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult,” MTRCB said in a statement released on Wednesday, July 12.


“Considering the context by which the cartoonish map of the character ‘Weird Barbie’ was portrayed in the film, the Review Committee is convinced that the contentious scene does not depict the ‘nine-dash line,'” it further read. “Instead, the map portrayed the route of the make-believe journey of Barbie from Barbie Land to the ‘real world,’ as an integral part of the story.”

MTRCB said it “exhausted all possible resources” before it decided on the matter, stressing that the board did not show hesitation in sanctioning previous “filmmakers/producers/distributors for exhibiting the fictitious ‘nine-dash line’ in their materials.”

“The Board sternly warns all filmmakers, producers, and distributors that it will not hesitate to sanction and/or ban films that exhibit the ‘nine-dash line’ for being contrary to law, pursuant to Section 3(c)(d) of Presidential Decree No. 1986, the Republic Act No. 9522, otherwise known as the Philippine Baselines Law, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s South China Sea Arbitration Award, whose anniversary we, as a nation, are celebrating today,” it added.

Actor Margot Robbie is photographed during a photocall for the upcoming Warner Bros. film "Barbie" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 25, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Actor Margot Robbie is photographed during a photocall for the upcoming Warner Bros. film “Barbie” in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 25, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“Barbie,” which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, was first banned in Vietnam for depicting China’s controversial nine-dash line, which was repudiated in an international arbitration ruling by a court in The Hague in 2016.

China refuses to recognize the ruling. Vietnam, like the Philippines, has overlapping claims over the portions of the contested waters being claimed by China.

‘Detrimental consequences’

On Tuesday afternoon, Senator Francis Tolentino preempted the MTRCB in announcing that the board is allowing the commercial screening of the highly anticipated film, as he expressed his dismay over its dismissal of the movie’s depiction of China’s nine-dash line.


Tolentino, who serves as vice-chairman of the Senate committee on foreign relations, said the MTRCB’s decision appeared glaring in light of the 7th year of the country’s victory in defending its position of the West Philippine Sea before an arbitral panel on Wednesday, July 12.

The senator was among those who are vocal against public screening of “Barbie,” saying it would lead to detrimental consequences for the country as it supposedly goes against the 2016 arbitral ruling.

MTRCB Executive Director Rikki Sansarona confirmed to INQUIRER.NET that he personally delivered the confidential letter “out of respect and courtesy to the good senator, for him to know the factual and legal basis of the decision in advance before releasing MTRCB’s official rating.”

In sending the “confidential” letter to Tolentino, the board said it merely wanted to inform him that measures had been taken before it reached its decision for clearance of the movie, such as consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Solicitor General.

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The letter further informed the lawmaker that after two “meticulous” screenings, it found  no basis to ban the movie. Even so, the MTRCB said, it asked Warner Bros, the film’s distributors, to “blur the controversial lines in order to avoid further misinterpretations.” EDV


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TAGS: Barbie movie, MTRCB

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