The Philippines has decided to permit the movie “Barbie” screening despite calls for a ban due to a controversial map depicting China’s “nine-dash line.” The film review board deemed the map “cartoonish.” It clarified that it did not represent the contentious territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The controversy surrounding Warner Bros.’s “Barbie” movie escalated when Vietnam recently banned the comedic fantasy production directed by Greta Gerwig. Trailers for the film reportedly featured a scene displaying the disputed “nine-dash line,” which China uses to justify its territorial assertions in the South China Sea.
The Philippines’ Movie and Television Review and Classification Board reviewed the movie twice. They sought input from foreign affairs officials and legal experts. After careful consideration, they concluded that the scene did not depict the “nine-dash line” and referred to it as a “cartoonish” representation. However, the board has requested Warner Bros. to blur the controversial lines to prevent misinterpretation.
In 2006, an international tribunal ruled against China in a complaint filed by the Philippines regarding the disputed waterway. However, tensions remain high as China continues to reject the verdict. Trillions of dollars worth of ship-borne goods flow through the South China Sea every year, making it an important trading route rich in resources.
Warner Bros. responded to the controversy by stating that the map in “Barbie Land” is merely a child-like drawing and was not intended to make any political statement. While the Philippines’ film authorities have accepted this explanation, they issued a warning, stating that any future films featuring the “nine-dash line” may face sanctions or bans for contravening the law.
“Barbie” stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken and follows their journey of self-discovery after being expelled from the utopian Barbie Land.