“We’re appealing with no cuts.”
That’s what award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter Ralston Jover told InterAksyon shortly after learning that his latest film, the provocative drama “Bomba,” received an X rating from the Movie Television Review and Classification Board on Monday.
Set against the backdrop of extrajudicial killings in the country, “Bomba” is the story of a middle-aged deaf and mute man played by Allen Dizon who has a dark past and is involved in a “taboo relationship” with a 16-year-old girl portrayed by Angellie Nicholle Sanoy.
The title refers to the disabled man who is like a ticking bomb ready to explode. It is not at all a reference to the soft-porn movies of the early 1970s dubbed as “bomba films.”
In a letter addressed to “Bomba” producer Dennis Evangelista, the MTRCB said that by virtue of a 2-1 vote, the film has been rated X due to the following reasons: “material contains adult theme; blood and violence; illicit relationship with a minor; children using cuss words and language; depiction of improper use of uniform and no redeeming value.”
Taken aback by the rating which essentially means that the film is not allowed for public exhibition, Jover said, “At first it was hilarious, ridiculous and mind-blowing. Then when it sunk in, it became downright pathetic.”
In a Facebook post, the filmmaker identified MTRCB members Evelyn Quinsay and Njel de Mesa as those who voted to give “Bomba” an X rating.
Quinsay is the wife of Department of the Interior and Local Government assistant secretary Nestor Quinsay, Jr. who was also the former Philippine National Police Intelligence Director.
De Mesa, on the other hand, is a screenwriter who is recently credited with co-writing Treb Monteras’ celebrated Cinemalaya indie, “Respeto.”
Jover noted that “one reviewer, the wife of a police general, made a [fuss] with the police uniform in one scene, not being worn properly,” obviously in reference to Quinsay.
“Another reviewer took issue [against] a long take where Sue Prado listens to a radio, where she is supposed to find out a dark secret of her neighbors—Allen D. and his alleged young lover Angellie Sanoy,” Jover added which could be referring to De Mesa.
In another Facebook post that also seems to refer to De Mesa, Jover wrote, “Writers should be supportive of each other. Invisible na nga tayo sa industriyang ito, tayu-tayo pa ba ang maghihilahan pababa? Tsk.”
As for the cuss words supposedly uttered by children, Jover checked and noted that teen actress Angellie Sanoy only cursed in two scenes, saying “puta” after learning that Allen’s character lost his job and in another scene where she mouths expletives in the Bicolano dialect while in the heat of an argument.
“Granted that the film has no redeeming value, according to them. Is that a gauge for an X rating?,” Jover further wondered.
As the film’s intended theatrical run is hampered by the MTRCB’s X rating, the film will nonetheless have its world premiere this month as part of the main competition section in this year’s Warsaw International Film Festival in Poland.
Now on its 33rd year, the Warsaw International Film Festival is regarded as one of the world’s major film festivals.
Meanwhile, both Jover and Dizon added more feathers on their cap at the 4th Urduja Heritage Awards. Jover won Best Screenplay for his work in Adolfo Alix, Jr.’s “Mrs.” Dizon, on the other hand, won Best Actor for his performance in Vic Acedillo, Jr.’s “Lando at Bugoy.”
Watch the trailer of “Bomba” here: