Arts & Entertainment

Jerrold Tarog chooses to let Bliss speak for itself

Bliss recently received an X-rating from the MTRCB.
IMAGE Screencap of "Bliss"
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After the breakthrough success of historical biopic Heneral Luna in 2015, every one anticipated director Jerrold Tarog's next move, especially since he once said that he planned only to "make enough movies and get out." This year, he released the psychological thriller Bliss, which premiered early March at the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival. Iza Calzado, who headlines the film, was given the Yakushi Pearl Award for her performance.

The local MTRCB, however, slapped Bliss with an X rating. According a report in ABS-CBN, the board cited reasons such as "prolonged frontal nudity, excessive violence, and masturbation" as well as "gratuitous sex scenes." 

According to MTRCB standards, an X rating would prevent a film from being shown publicly. The producers are currently trying to appeal the decision. 

Until a final decision has been made, Tarog has decided to keep mum about the rating, but he did say that he thought about the possibility of censorship during production. "Yes it crossed my mind but executive producers fully supported the movie. [Producer] Ed Rocha laughed though at how twisted my brain is."

Since Bliss features the cycles and different forms of abuse, we asked the director if there are presumptions that Filipinos aren't ready for such themes. "We're screening the film for free in UP on Monday, so we can see how 'ready' the public is for this material."

The University of the Philippines, like the CCP, is outside of the MTRCB's jurisdiction because it fights against censorship.

Bliss will be screened at UP Cine Adarna on April 3. Registration starts at 5 p.m. on a first-come-first-served basis. Gates open at 6 p.m. Viewers must be 18 years old and above. Follow Bliss' official Facebook page for updates

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Sasha Lim Uy
Managing Editor, EsquireMag.ph
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled SPOT.ph's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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