MTRCB: 'TheRapist' trailer, starring Cherie Gil, 'not for public exhibition'
MANILA, Philippines – The trailer of the short film TheRapist, starring Cherie Gil, has been disapproved for public exhibition by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
A letter from the MTRCB dated August 23 to the movie's distributor Solar Entertainment says that it was deemed "not for public exhibition" because of its "language and scenes depicting sexual activity."
TheRapist's director, Diane Ventura, has appealed for a second review. As of writing there, has been no response from the MTRCB regarding the appeal.
In her letter of appeal, she told the MTRCB, "This [decision] is disheartening as I feel that the profound message of the film has been overlooked due to the condensed, brief editing of the trailer."
Ventura also repeated a message she told the media previously:
"I understand this movie could be misconstrued as condoning the vile act of rape. But in this film, I’m not talking about the jump-out-of-the-bushes assault of a helpless victim.
"I'm talking about certain situations wherein a girl actually has the power and capability to get herself out of a possibly precarious situation where she feels uncomfortable and unsettled.
"It's about female empowerment and not allowing to be put in situations that they do not want to be in, or get themselves into a position where their decision-making capabilities are vitiated.
"We all know that rape is a destestable crime but we can't always rely on the values and morals of other people, we cannot control other people's actions but we do have control of ourselves, and having awareness of this face helps us in becoming more proactive in terms of protecting ourselves form possible harm. Let's not put ourselves in a helpless predicament where we actually have the power to leave before things get out of hand."
Should their appeal be approved, TheRapist's trailer is supposed to play at the commercial release of Mulat (Awaken), another film by Ventura.
Mulat, starring Jake Cuenca, Ryan Eigenmann, and Loren Burgos, won two awards at the International Film Festival Manhattan 2014: Best Director for Ventura, and Best Actor for Cuenca. It also won two awards in the 2016 Brazil World Cinema Festival for Best Actor (Cuenca) and Best Narrative Feature.
In an email to Rappler, Ventura invited audiences to see it for themselves: "Given the sensitivity of the subject, people should definitely come see it for themselves and judge it on its own merit, If they open their minds, the important message behind the intention of the film will filter out the ambiguity, confusion and controversy surrounding it."
TheRapist is about a young man (Marco Morales) who is accused of rape and is sent for psychatric evaluation with a therapist (Cherie Gil). It screened at the International Film Festival Manhattan 2012 where it was nominated for Best Short Film and won 2nd Most Popular Film. – Rappler.com