MANILA -- A film from "Heneral Luna" director Jerrold Tarog was rated X by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
Tarog's "Bliss," a psychological thriller starring Iza Calzado, had been deemed unfit for exhibition in local theaters and TV supposedly for scenes featuring prolonged frontal nudity, excessive violence, and masturbation.
According to the newly appointed MTRCB chief Rachel Arenas, two out of the three board members who reviewed the film slapped it with an X rating, while one gave it an R-18.
"Their opinion was quite strong na it should be an X," Arenas told ABS-CBN News' MJ Felipe on Wednesday, adding that the board members also noted that "Bliss" showed "gratuitous" sex scenes.
"Bliss" made its premiere early this month at the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival, where Calzado was awarded the prestigious Yakushi Pearl Award for her performance. It also stars Ian Veneracion.
The producers of the film will appeal the MTRCB ruling.
"We are currently going through the process of submitting an appeal for a second review and hope for a more favorable result," a note posted on Facebook read.
A dismayed Noel Ferrer, Calzado's manager, also shared his reaction on social media, saying: "It will be so unfortunate and such a waste if a film that has earned rave reviews and international honors won't be allowed to be screened to Filipinos in its integral version."
"Time to unite dear filmmakers and film audiences. We have to experience 'Bliss' in the Philippines," he added.
Asked about the negative feedback the MTRCB ruling has gotten, Arenas said that they are open to reviewing "Bliss" for a second time should they receive a formal appeal.
A synopsis for "Bliss" reads: "Jane Ciego (Iza Calzado) started acting in showbiz at a young age. Now in her 30s, she decides to produce her own film to win some respect in the industry."
"But things do not go as planned and an accident on location cripples her. Jane wakes up unable to walk and trapped in her own home, a large house filled with strange sounds and people who may want to harm her."
"She is looked over by her cold husband Carlo and a sadistic nurse named Lilibeth, and then there is Rose, a nurse wanted by authorities for sexually molesting a patient."
"She mysteriously enters Jane’s life and soon begins affecting her dreams as much as her waking life. Jane’s sanity begins to crumble as the horrors pile up in a symphony of blood, tears and madness. What was supposed to be a simple dream for Jane soon becomes an endless nightmare."
A trailer for the film was uploaded online.
"Bliss" is one of the Tarog's newest projects following the massive success of "Heneral Luna," the highest grossing Filipino historical film of all time.