Tuesday, December 21, 2010

He who laughs last

Catholic Church, groups call for cuts in Dolphy’s movie

The Catholic Church and various church organizations called on the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), on Monday, to delete scenes from Dolphy's comedy flick "Fr. Jejemon" deemed as offensive and disrespectful to the Catholic faith.

One of the scenes that sent the Church and other groups fuming was a priest, portrayed by the King of Comedy, Dolphy, accidentally dropping a host to a woman's cleavage as the latter took communion during Holy Mass.

Another scene in the movie -- an entry to the 36th Metro Manila Film Festival -- that offended Catholic groups showed a host getting stuck on an old woman's false teeth while also receiving communion.

"The MTRCB should delete that portion and other elements in the film that are disrespectful to human beliefs,” said Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Episcopal Commission on Mass Communications and Mass Media.

No move to pull out Dolphy comedy from film festival —MMDA chief

MTRCB lauds Dolphy outfit for voluntarily censoring ‘Father Jejemon’

MANILA, Philippinies -- The chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has lauded comedy king Dolphy’s film outfit for voluntarily excising scenes from his latest movie, "Fr. Jejemon," which had offended the Catholic Church.

MTRCB chair Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares related in a statement to the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the film’s producer RVQ Productions, Inc., “upon learning of the public’s sentiments against some scenes in the teasers, immediately exercised self-regulation and voluntarily deleted those evoking scenes.”
It was good of Dolphy's RVQ Productions to voluntarily excise the offending scenes. Reports have it that Dolphy is unequivocally Catholic, as quoted from Zsa Zsa Padilla (Dolphy's partner and RVQ's producer) who said: “Initially, I found the scene ‘cute.’ We didn’t have any malicious intention to offend any religion, not especially Catholicism, because Dolphy is sarado Katoliko.”. It seems strange therefore that Dolphy consented to shoot those scenes in the first place, which indicates that the king of comedy is out of touch with the utmost reverence that Catholics are supposed to accord to the Holy Eucharist. I grant however, that Dolphy (as well as Zsa Zsa) "didn’t have any malicious intention to offend any religion, not especially Catholicism". I grant further that if there is anything that they are surely guilty of, it is absolute cluelessness on the exalted reverence that is due to the sacred Host, even if they do only a mock representation. Sarado Katolikos should know better.

Another thing that could pose discomfort for faithful Catholics is the plot of the film, and what messages they impart. Being a comedy, would it mock priests and Catholicism in its attempt to be funny? Here is a short synopsis from the entertainment section of the Inquirer:

‘Father Jejemon’

In this comedy flick, Dolphy plays Fr. Jeremiah Jerome Montes, or Father Jejemon. He endears himself to the people of the fictitious town Parmbil because of his modern and offbeat ways. He plays rock music and organizes talent competitions. He even calls the members of his parish’s all-women group as the Lady Nga-Ngas, inspired by the pop singer Lady Gaga. Things take an interesting turn when the priest gets accused of child molestation. Dolphy, whose movie is up against other surefire block-busters in this festival, said he is not after topping the box-office. “Gusto ko lang masayahan ang manonood,” he declared.

It has been classified as General Patronage, and kids would get to watch it with their families. I am not about to judge the overall film at this premature point, although I would say it would be a disaster if those two offensive scenes (and perhaps more like it) are not deleted. This could be Dolphy's last film, and it is pitiful if his entire film legacy gets tainted by this grossly insensitive scenes. Even though it is meant as a comedy film, it is certain to impart values among its gullible audience, sarado Katoliko or otherwise. I sure hope there are authentic values to be learned from the film, even though Dolphy's main aim to to make people laugh. Nothing wrong with that, and I hope he succeeds. He is truly funny and a living legend in Philippine cinema. "Gusto ko lang masayahan ang manonood", he says. I hope the One watching from above appreciates this funny movie, or else the one down below will be the one laughing out loud - and that would be very, very bad for Dolphy. I wonder who laughs last. Dolphy's time is running short and when the time comes for this sarado Katoliko, baka sarado pinto.

Update: Dolphy asks for forgiveness


Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Apparently, Catholic priests were consulted about the movie, and approved the scenes, including -- apparently -- the blasphemous Communion scene.

Given the sheer irreverence of so many priests when offering the most sacred mysteries, I'm not surprised.

WillyJ said...

That's appalling. Yes, Dolphy appears to use as an excuse that the priest consultories to the script in fact specifically consented to the disputed scenes. If so, the priests who felt alluded to should come out and explain themselves.

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