The coming-of-age film Metamorphosis was slapped with an X rating by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
X-rated films are not suitable for public exhibition.
On November 6, film director Jose Enrique Tiglao took to Twitter to announce that his film entry in the 2019 Cinema One Originals film festival was not approved by the MTRCB for public viewing due to its sexually explicit scenes.
“Our film Metamorphosis was NOT approved by MTRCB for public viewing. Hindi R-16 or R-18 man lang. Sabi nila ‘not suitable for public exhibition’ daw dahil sa ilang maseselang eksena,” the director said.
Metamorphosis tells the story of 14-year-old Adam (Gold Aceron), a boy born with both male and female genitals, and how he explores his sexuality.
In his Twitter post, Tiglao said the daring scenes aim to humanize intersex people who have been called “freaks” and “abnormal” for having both male and female genitalia.
He said the scenes in question are not inclined to lewdness or lustfulness.
“The daring scenes aim to humanize the character who is an intersex. Intersex people are victims of stigma and misconceptions due to their unconventional anatomy. They were called ‘freaks’ and ‘abnormal,'” the director 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,” he added.
Tiglao went on, saying that the scenes demonstrate that intersex people are also “normal” like everyone else and that they are “beautiful as they are.”
The director then said he and his film crew will try to re-edit the film to lessen the sensual scenes.
However, he noted that he will likely not remove everything just to follow the MTRCB’s standards.
“We will try to re-edit the film tonite (November 6) to lessen the daring scenes pero hindi ko maipapangako na matatanggal ko ang lahat masunod lang ang kanilang standard sa puntong mawawalan na ng bayag ang pelikula,” Tiglao said.
“Bukas (November 7) pupunta akong MTRCB and try to defend the latest cut. Bahala na,” he went on.
The director concluded his Twitter thread by voicing out his sadness for moviegoers who will not be able to see the cut scenes.
“Ang lungkot lang isipin na mukhang hindi niyo mapapanood ang putol ng pelikula na gusto namin para rito,” Tiglao said.
“Pelikula na sana, sa unang pagkakataon, ay magrerepresent sa mga kapatid nating intersex sa larangan ng pelikula,” he added.
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.#LabanMeta #MetaFilm
— Jose Enrique (@jose_enrq) November 6, 2019
Tiglao’s post has since received support from many netizens calling for the film to be shown in theaters.
MTRCB changed from X rating to R-16 after its director appealed for a reclassification making the controversial movie eligible to premiere in the 2019 Cinema One Originals Film Festival this Thursday. Tiglao added that the MTRCB told him that he did not need to make any cuts from his movie.
“Nagtagumpay tayong palayain ang paruparo!” its director, Jose Tiglao, wrote on Twitter.
Nagtagumpay tayong palayain ang paruparo! From X rating to R-16 (16yo above are allowed to watch the film)! And we promise you that NOTHING has been compromised– no shots or scenes have been cut. Maraming salamat sa lahat ng nag-ingay at narinig nila tayo! #LabanMeta #MetaFilm pic.twitter.com/6FPAGwEctk
— Jose Enrique (@jose_enrq) November 7, 2019
Metamorphosis also stars Iana Bernardez, Ivan Padilla, Ricky Davao, and Yayo Aguila.
The film was originally scheduled to have its premiere night on November 10 at TriNoMa Mall.
The Cinema One Originals Film Festival, which will showcase seven other movie entries, will be held in TriNoMa, Gateway, Glorietta, Power Plant Makati, and Ayala Manila Bay cinemas from November 7 to November 17.