Hollywood movies

Marcos on ‘Barbie’ map controversy: ‘It’s a work of fiction’

Bea Cupin

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Marcos on ‘Barbie’ map controversy: ‘It’s a work of fiction’

BARBIE MOVIE. Margot Robbie stars in the highly-anticipated film by Greta Gerwig.

Warner Bros Pictures' YouTube

The MTRCB earlier ruled that the movie did not depict the controversial nine-dash line

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. dismissed the controversy over the upcoming live-action Barbie film, calling the movie a “work of fiction.”

Marcos on ‘Barbie’ map controversy: ‘It’s a work of fiction’

Marcos made the statement on Friday, July 14, on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project and the distribution of government aid in Northern Samar.

Maganda raw eh, sabi nila (It’s a good movie, or so they say),” Marcos said in a chance interview, referring to the Greta Gerwig-directed feature film, in response to questions.

There had been public outcry to ban the movie in the Philippines, on the heels of Vietnam’s decision to bar it from their cinemas on account of the supposed depiction of China’s nine-dash line in a scene. The nine-dash line is how China argues its supposed claims over practically the entire South China Sea.

The validity of that line has been quashed by an arbitral court in July 2016, thanks to a case that the Philippines filed against China. China superpower, however, has refused to recognize the ruling.

Asked about the “map” in the movie, Marcos said: “Siyempre, ‘yung sinasabi nila ‘yung kasama doon sa ‘yung boundary line na ginawa. Ang sagot ko doon, what do you expect? It’s a work of fiction.”

(Of course, they’re referring to the boundary line that was made. To which I say, what do you expect? It’s a work of fiction.)

Warner Bros had said that the map, which supposedly depicts the nine-dash line “is a whimsical, child-like crayon drawing.”

“The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the real world. It was not intended to make any type of statement,” said the studio in a statement, referring to the plot of the Margot Robbie-starrer.

The Philippines’ Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), which rates and reviews films, television shows, and the like, before they are shown in public, earlier decided that the map did not depict the nine-dash line and that Barbie would screen in Philippine cinemas.

“Considering the context by which the cartoonish map of the character ‘Weird Barbie’ was portrayed in the film, the Review Committee is convinced that the contentious scene does not depict the ‘nine-dash line.’ Instead, the map portrayed the route of the make-believe journey of Barbie from Barbie Land to the ‘real world’ as an integral part of the story,” said the board, whose chairperson is appointed by the President.

Last year, the MTRCB removed the film Uncharted from Philippine cinemas in response to a request from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), as it contained an image of China’s nine-dash line claim.

Barbie is among the most-anticipated films of the summer movie season. It’s set to premiere in the Philippines on July 19. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.