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Manila bans 'Bridges of Madison County'

By ABE DE RAMOS

MANILA, Aug. 29 -- The Philippines' movie review board Tuesday confirmed it gave an X-rating to 'The Bridges of Madison County,' banning the movie starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. Lucas Pasiliao, general manager of Warner Bros. (Philippines), the film's distributor, said the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board banned the movie because of a partial nudity scene in which Streep appears. A member of the board confirmed the decision but otherwise declined comment. Warner Bros. said it will take the issue to the MTRCB appeals committee. Pasiliao said the board screened the movie twice in two weeks and told Warner Bros. after both screenings it found the nudity scene offensive. 'The MTRCB said if they allowed the movie's showing, it might become a precedent to local movie makers,' said Pasiliao. He said the MTRCB has told Warner Bros. it would give the movie an R rating if the scene were cut, allowing those 18 years or older to view the film. But Pasiliao said Warner Bros. is confident the movie would follow the leads of 'Schindler's List' and 'The Piano.' The two movies were banned by the MTRCB last year, only to be shown after President Fidel Ramos overruled the decision. Warner Bros. is awaiting an official memorandum from the MTRCB before making its appeal. Ramos created the MTRCB appeals committee in March 1994 after allowing the showing of 'Schindler's List,' which the MTRCB banned because of what it called a 'pornographic' sex scene between its lead actors.

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'That particular scene (from 'The Bridges') is not obscene or pornographic,' Pasiliao said. 'The MTRCB has to take into account the film's artistic value as a whole.' Streep's nude scene will reportedly be retained in a premiere showing of the movie in late September in an international film festival to be held in the capital, as the MTRCB has vowed to keep its hands off on the movies to be shown during the 10-day event. The 'Bridges of Madison County,' based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller, is about a National Geographic photographer's affair with a bored Iowa housewife.

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