MANILA—Pressure is mounting on the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) over its decision to prohibit a film that aims to rid the stigma around a condition in which people are born with both male and female sex characteristics.
On Wednesday, Jose Tiglao, director of "Metamorphosis," an entry to this year's Cinema One Originals Film Festival, scheduled to begin Thursday, said that the MTRCB deemed his movie "not suitable for public exhibition" due to its sexually explicit scenes.
Tiglao said in his Facebook post that he was told to lessen the flm's "daring scenes," or have it barred from being shown in cinemas on the grounds that it could cause offense.
He added that he'll try to adhere to the MTRCB's demands, though he explained that the scenes in question "aim to humanize" people who have been called "freaks" and "abnormal" for being intersex.
Intersex is a condition in which people are born with both male and female genitalia. "Metamorphosis" centers on a 14-year-old who has been disparaged because of this.
Referring to the banned scenes, Tiglao wrote: "Ang mga eksenang ito ay hindi lamang purong kalibugan."
"Ito ay pagpapakita ng kanilang pagkatao, ng kanilang sexual desires, ng kanilang pagkalito at pagkabigo — mga bagay na pinagdadaanan nating LAHAT, intersex man o hindi."
"Hindi ko maipapangako na matatanggal ko ang lahat masunod lang ang kanilang standard sa puntong mawawalan na ng bayag ang pelikula. Bukas [Wednesday] pupunta akong MTRCB and try to defend the latest cut. Bahala na."
"Ang lungkot lang isipin na mukhang hindi niyo mapapanood ang putol ng pelikula na gusto namin para rito.
"Pelikula na sana, sa unang pagkakataon, ay magrerepresent sa mga kapatid nating intersex sa larangan ng pelikula."
Ronald Arguelles, the head of Cinema One, said he hopes that the final cut of the movie passes the standards of the MTRCB, and that "Metamorphosis" makes it in time for the festival's premiere.
As of writing, Tiglao's post on Facebook has received support from many Filipinos online calling for the film to be shown in cinemas.
The trailer for "Metamorphosis" can be watched below: