by BOY VILLASANTA
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has changed its rating of controversial film "Serbis" from X to R-18.
The MTRCB earlier gave an X rating to the film, which was the Philippine representative to the recently concluded 61st Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.
The film production’s request of an R-18 classification was granted after the government agency scrutinized the film more closely.
Due to three scenes it deemed objectionable, the board initially found it necessary to classify "Serbis" not fit for public viewing because of its bold and daring scenes- namely the pumping scene of lead star Coco Martin with newcomer Mercedes Cabral, and two scenes portraying oral sex.
"Nag-panic kami. So we had to appeal to the board. Kasi, hindi naman basta na lang inilagay ang mga eksenang ‘yon para lang masabing may sex scenes. Hindi ‘yon pang-come on," said director Brillante Mendoza.
"Ang nakakasakit nga ng damdamin ay pasado ito sa France pero dito sa ating sariling bayan ay bale-wala sa kanila. Integral ang sex scenes na ‘yon at contextual. Kasi nga, ang ipinapakita ng pelikula ay ang decadence at kahirapan ng lipunan kaya may mga serbis na lalaki sa sinehan," explained Mendoza.
The film's producer, Centerstage Productions, appealed to the board to alter its judgment.
"Para hindi na humaba ang usapan, nag-tame na lang kami ng mga eksena kaya naka-appeal kami ngayon," added Mendoza.
Instead of showing the movie tomorrow, June 18th, its original playdate, the production company has reset the commercial exhibition of the film next week instead, on June 25th.
"Serbis" stars Gina Pareño, Jaclyn Jose, Julio Diaz, Kristofer King, Roxanne Jordan, Mercedes Cabral and Coco Martin.