Two Cinema One entries get initial X rating from MTRCB; directors compromise to get R-18 ratings

Angustia, directed by Kristian Cordero, and Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na, directed by Jet Leyco, both received X ratings but these were eventually lowered to R-18. In one scene of Angustia (left), a woman tries to feed the Blessed Sacrament to her fighting cock. Raul Morit (right) is one of the cast members of Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na.



Dalawang indie films na kalahok sa 9th Cinema One Originals Festival ang nagkaroon ng initial X rating mula sa Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

Ito ay ang Angustia ng Bicolano poet and filmmaker na si Kristian Cordero at ang Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na ni Direk Jet Leyco.

At press time, ang parehong pelikula ay na reclassify na bilang R-18 movies.

Naging kontrobersiyal ang period film na Angustia na pinagbibidahan ni Alex Vincent Medina, kasama rin sina Maria Isabel Lopez, Michelle Smith (Bicolano actress), among others.


(Read related article: Alex Medina-starrer Angustia gets initial X rating from MTRCB)


Ito ang synopsis ng naturang Cinema One entry: “In 19th Century Bicolandia, a Spanish friar falls for an indigenous woman, but paranoia soon drives him to murder.”

Dapat sana ay nag-premiere night ito noong Martes, November 12, sa Robinsons Galleria pero kanselado ito dahil sa initial X rating ng MTRCB.

Naging maayos naman ang pag-uusap ng direktor with the MTRCB at nag-compromise sila para naging R-18 na ang final rating ng Angustia.

Natuloy ang premiere night ng Angustia kagabi, Miyerkules, November 13, sa Robinsons Galleria.

Sa interview ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) with Direk Kristian, tinanong namin kung anu-ano’ng eksena ang mga naging dahilan para ma-Rated-X ang pelikula sa unang review ng MTRCB?

“They mentioned three scenes: Una, yung pagpapakomunyon sa tandang [rooster] ng hostiya [Blessed Sacrament]. This is a folk practice na ginagawa para manalo sa sabong.

“They wanted me to remove the words ‘Corpus Christi’ which means ‘Body of Christ’ pero ‘di ako pumayag.

“Second, yung paglibing ng mga hostiyang yun dahil natalo ang tandang. This scene, I allowed it to be cut. Di ko na pinakita yung akto ng pagpupuyos at galit nu’ng character.

“Sayang, kasi symbolic yun and ako, as a poet, I operate in symbols and images na kapag tinanggal mo ang ilang symbols, agad na nagko-collapse ang buong likha.”

Ang ikatlo at pinaka-kontrobersiyal na eksena ay ang pagtatalik ng isang pari (played by Alex Medina) at isang Agta girl, katutubong babae sa Bicol noong 19th century (played by Mitch Smith).

Narito naman ang description ng karakter ni Alex na isang pari: “Don Victorino Hernandez, a Creole secular priest, has two passions: botany and the ultimate conversion of the native population including the Agtas, who in spite of the rigorous undertakings of Spanish colonialism, continue to live in the hinterlands.

“This tropical saga will remain discrepant and exotic. These are tremendous elements of local histories and passions from the peripheries. If they appeared in books, they are thinly written.”

Ayon kay Direk Kristian, noong una, ang love scenes nina Alex and Mitch ay pinapa-delete, kasi "malicious nudity" na raw ‘yon. Pero sa mga sumunod na meeting ay “nagbigayan” na ang dalawang partido.

“Hindi naman na-delete [ang love scene]. May suggestion lang silang ginawa ko naman. Bigayan.

“Trimmed na. Pinaalis lang yung pagkain ng suso ni Mitch. Kasi, relevant yun sa addiction ni Alex sa tabagwang [river snails].

“Sa tingin ko, hindi naman na-compromise ang artistic integrity ng film. Mas nabigla nga ako sa reception nila on how I played the function of the sacraments and interspersed this in the narrative ng film.

“Like yung binyag, komunyon ng tandang, pagbabaon ng hostiya, at ang portrayal sa pari.”

So, in summary, na-trim down ang love scene pero hindi na-delete.

“The film should be seen as a poetry. Malaking bagay ang pagtunghay sa mga religious images and sacraments na ginamit, sa mga kantang Bikol at pangsimbahan, para lubos na maunawaan ang pelikula.

“Kapag natanggal ang isang imahen, may kinikipil na kahulugan,” saad ni Direk Kristian.

Sa hiwalay na panayam, giniit ng direktor ng Angustia na hindi "anti-Catholic" ang kanyang pelikula.

"They [referring to the MTRCB] asked me to be more cautious in the use of the sacraments. Ang questionable sa kanila o delikado ang nagfi-feed ng rooster ng hostia.

"They wanted to mute it pero hindi ko ginawa kasi it will look ridiculous."

"I don't think it is an anti-Catholic film.

"I don't think it's anti-institution.

"Angustia, if I may say it, tries to understand the humanity of the priest, the humanity of natives trapped in one setting, trapped in one time."

Ang angustia ay ang Spanish word for anguish.

Sa pelikula, pinakita ang religious figurine ni Virgin Mary na buhat-buhat ang katawan ng crucified Christ.

Hindi nabanggit ang Angustia sa buong pelikula kung kaya't pinaliwanag ng direktor kung bakit ganito ang titulo: "Ang Angustia ay ang Blessed Mother.

"Ang internationational title namin ay 'Out of the Depths' dahil ang last part ng sinabi ni Alex [Medina] ay mula sa isang Psalm.

"They should take Angustia as a prayer."

Sa Bicol ba ay may ganitong figurine na Angustia?

Paliwanag niya, "It is generated in the town of Nabua, where my mother comes from. It is actually where we shot the film.

"There is an image there of La Pieta, anguish. This is the time when the Blessed Mother lost her son and that loss leads her to anguish.

"But that anguish also comes out of the depths. Ito ang freedom mo when you release that anguish from within you."




MARTIAL LAW FILM GETS INITIAL X RATING. Ang isa pang Cinema One entry na nabigyan ng initial X rating ay ang Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na.

Narito ang synopsis ng naturang pelikula: “Four interconnected tales set during the height of Martial Law crackdown against rebels reflect the palpable aura of fear that has left Filipinos in a state of paralysis, unable and unwilling to move until the dark cloud of history passes over."

Tampok dito sina Raul Morit, Flor Salanga, Nika Santiago, Dan de Guzman, among others.

Sa panayam ng PEP kay Direk Jet, sinabi ng newbie filmmaker, “Na-rated-X kami sa first review. Dapat, sa second review rin. Pero ginawan namin ng paraan sa projection yung one scene, kaya R-18 na ang bagong rating.”

Anu-ano’ng mga eksena ang sa palagay ng MTRCB ay objectionable o offensive para maging rated-X ang pelikula?

“Masturbation with genitalia, frontal nudity, animal cruelty. May necrophilia daw, which is wala naman. There’s a sex scene with a tortured victim lang,” paliwanag ni Direk Jet.

The rest of the three other scenes ba ay na-delete na kaya naging R-18?

“Nope, sa second review, we discussed things and intentions sa committee, kasi, two members voted for R-18, and three members for X-rating. So yun, nagkaroon ng arrangements.”


Headed by Ronald Arguelles, ang 9th Cinema One Originals Festival (na may 15 films in competition) ay ongoing until November 19 sa Trinoma, Glorietta 4, at Robinsons Galleria.


(To learn more about the entries, CLICK HERE)

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