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Uh-Oh, There's A Chance That 'Barbie' Will *Not* Be Shown In PH Cinemas

The film is currently drawing flak for the appearance of the 'nine-dash line' in one of its scenes.
Barbie the movie nine dash line
PHOTO: Instagram/barbiethemovie

The Barbie movie's fate on our shores is in limbo. The much-buzzed about flick has been reviewed by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board—and a Permit to Exhibit is now under deliberation.

The question on its release in the Philippines follows news of the movie being banned from screening in Vietnam for containing an "illegal image" of China's disputed nine-dash line.

The board released a statement on July 4 stating that they have seen the movie and are yet to decide. "We confirm that the Board has reviewed the film “Barbie” today, 04 July 2023. At this time, the assigned Committee on First Review is deliberating on the request of Warner Brothers F.E. Inc. for a Permit to Exhibit," said MTRCB. 

Why was the Barbie movie banned in Vietnam?

Vietnam banned the movie over the appearance of the nine-dash line, a disputed map that shows China's claims over the South China Sea—or to us, the West Philippine Sea. It uses a series of dashes in the shape of a "U" to claim their territory over the waters, a move that infringes on Vietnam's sovereignty. 


For the Philippines, you might remember the 2016 ruling from The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration—an arbitral tribunal—that said "The Tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line.'" 

While it is unclear which specific scene earned the ire of Vietnam, you can spot several maps in the movie. Vietnamese entertainment writer Nguyên Lê posted on Twitter one scene from the movie that depicts a rather cartoon-ish looking map that did indeed have dashes over what it marked as Asia. 

If the nine-dash line is indeed in the Barbie movie, "then it is incumbent upon the MTRCB to ban the same as it denigrates Philippine sovereignty," Senator Francis Tolentino was quoted as saying by the Philippine Inquirer. 

*This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by editors.

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