October 11, 2006

By Raoul J. Chee Kee
BusinessWorld, Oct. 10, 2006

THE Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) last Thursday gave an X rating to a short film by an independent filmmaker. Toxic Mango directed and written by Khavn de la Cruz was supposed to air late Sunday night on ABC-5 as part of the local channel’s program, Shorts.

Because of the X rating, Toxic Mango was taken out of the program roster along with two other short films that had not yet been rated by the board.

Lawyer Zosimo G. Alegre, who chaired the film viewing along with two other members last Thursday gave only one reason for the X rating: the six pumping scenes.

The short film with the kilometric title, “The incredibly heart-rending and fantastically forbidden legend of the Toxic Mango that bestows a multitude of lessons to all brave citizens of the new planet Alibuhod” was shot at a beach resort on Guimaras last month. According to the synopsis, Guima and Aras play “ill-fated lovers in this sardonic tale of fruit and worldwide genocide.”

After eating the black mango that appears in their tree one day, the woman has sex with the men of the village who then mysteriously die. Although the camera is trained on the clothed torsos of the woman and her victims, the MTRCB did not approve of the pumping motions.

Mr. Alegre said that he and his team might have reconsidered changing the rating if the director or someone from the Philippine Independent Filmmakers Cooperative had been present or immediately available.

“If they had been there, maybe they would have voluntarily taken out or shortened some of the pumping scenes,” he said in the vernacular. “According to our Implementing Rules and Regulations, if we do not grant the rating that is requested, we can talk to them. They should have been there so if we had questions, they would’ve been able to answer.”

Mr. de la Cruz, the director of Toxic Mango and several other features and short films, told BusinessWorld that even if he could make an appeal for reconsideration, he was too busy working on other things including two books, three features and 15 short films.

“Even when we were younger, we would already hear people complain about the MTRCB but [the board is] still there. Nakakapagod (It’s too tiring). I’ve done several films that I didn’t even show to the MTRCB anymore.” he said.

A project of the Philippine Independent Filmmakers Cooperative, Guimaras: Shortfilms from the Oil Spill, was participated in by 16 filmmakers including Kidlat Tahimik, Raya Martin, Roxlee, Milo Paz, Emman de la Cruz, Jeck Cogama, Paulo Villaluna, Wilfred Galila, Kidlat de Guia, JP Carpio, Seymour Sanchez, Ann Shy, Victor Villanueva, Drei Boquieren and Oscar Nava.


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