Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Virtual censorship

This piece on indie filmmakers being censored by the MTRCB is significant because the reasons for the films' X rating is clearly subjective.

Produced by Southern Tagalog Exposure, “Arrovo” is a satire on President Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration. The MTRCB declared the film “too one-sided,” and said it “undermines the faith and confidence of the people,” thus the “X” rating.

Since when is a classification board fit to judge whether a film “undermines the faith and confidence of the people?” Besides, as the director said, they are not required to air both sides. They are not journalists doing a public service; they create art.

But the scarier rationale is for "Mendiola," which according to the MTRCB, “has a tendency to incite sedition and rebellion.

Back in high school Constitutional Law (we used Isagani Cruz's textbook, not the sissy high school social studies crap) we were taught that the the "dangerous tendencies" doctrine has been scrapped in favor of "clear and present danger," the rationale being "dangerous tendencies" can be defined subjectively, as is the case with the MTRCB ruling on "Mendiola."

The third film was X'd because it “has no redeeming value and is therefore unacceptable for commercial screening.”

Since when does a movie need a "redeeming value" in order to be viewable? The fact that a film is made is value enough in itself, it doesn't need to conform to any moral standard. This crap is the reason behind disclaimers in heist films like "The Score" and the Tom Selleck one when they were shown here.

The MTRCB aren't technically banning anything, though. They're just barring commercial screenings by virtue of the X rating.

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