After some delays, “Barbie” will be taking a trip to the Philippines this summer.
The card appears in a scene where Margot Robbie’s Barbie character, who is experiencing an existential crisis, seeks advice from Weird Barbie, played by Kate McKinnon. When McKinnon tells Robbie that she must travel to the “real world” for answers, the drawn map appears, showing a trail of eight lines squirting from Asia into the map’s ocean. The card too appears in the film’s trailer.
In the real world, China uses a controversial U-shaped demarcation – the so-called Nine dash line – to claim huge parts of the South China Sea. Southeast Asian countries that also border large parts of this sea, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as the United States, are at odds with China over who controls the waters, an important trade route rich in fish and potentially untapped oil.
However, after watching the film twice and seeing the map in context, Filipino officials gave the green light to “Barbie” on Wednesday. The decision comes on the seventh anniversary of a decision by an international tribunal in The Hague that invalidated China’s “nine-dash line.”
“Given the context in which the comic book card of the character ‘Weird Barbie’ was depicted in the film, the review committee is satisfied that the disputed scene does not depict the ‘nine-dash line,'” the Philippine reads Film and TV Review and Classification Board said in an opinion Wednesday.
The review panel said the map instead “represents the route of Barbie’s fictional journey from Barbie-land to the ‘real world’ as an integral part of the story.”
Warner Bros. has defended the illustration, calling it “a whimsical, childish colored pencil drawing” depicting Barbie’s journey in the film and “was not intended to make any statement,” the statement said Reuters.
Before giving “Barbie” the green light, however, the Quezon City-based review board said in a letter to Philippine Senator Francis it had asked Warner Bros. to “blur the controversial lines to avoid further misinterpretation.” Tolentino, who campaigned for the “Barbie” ban.
It was unclear whether the studio would heed the government’s request to cut the film. Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to the Times request for comment.
In reviewing the film, the board took advice from a South China Sea legal expert and pointed out differences between the line drawn in the film and that used in China: the line in the film looks like an inverted S rather than a U eight dashes instead of nine. (BusinessMirror, a Filipino publication, released the panel’s letter to Tolentino.)
Tolentino said in a news conference that he respected the review board’s decision but continued to draw attention to his country’s geopolitical struggle with China, which he described as “ongoing encroachment on Philippine waters” and “a clear violation of the rights of our fishermen.” even the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard,” it said CNN Philippines.
The decision came days after concerns were raised by the Philippines and the US Nearly 50 fishing vessels from China parked in oil-rich marine areas claimed by the Philippines.
In the past, both Vietnam and the Philippines have banned other films for depicting the nine-dash line, such as the 2019 animated film DreamWorks.abominable“and SonyPictures”Unexplored“, starring Tom Holland.
Directed by Greta Gerwig, Barbie remains a highly anticipated summer film alongside Christopher Nolan’s war drama Oppenheimer. Their simultaneous release date, July 21, has the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon that generates viral memes and leads to fans Booking double screenings of the two films.
Audiences in the Philippines can put the “Barbenheimer” hype in the US behind them as both films are slated to hit theaters there and several other countries on July 19.