Jan 27, 2016

    S’pore film In The Room ‘rated R21, gets sexier’

    THE made-in-Singapore erotic drama In The Room will be released here after all, following controversy after it was withdrawn from the classification process.

    It will be given a general release here with an R21 rating on Feb 25, according to a press release from distributor Encore Films.

    However, a spokesman for the Media Development Authority (MDA) said: “We have yet to receive the international version of this film, which we understand will be submitted for classification soon.”

    Directed by acclaimed Singapore film-maker Eric Khoo, In The Room screened at last year’s Singapore International Film Festival and festivals overseas. At the festival last month, Khoo and his producers said they were unable to get the R21 rating they desired from MDA for general release.

    In a follow-up at that time, MDA said “in consultation with the Films Consultative Panel, MDA had deemed two scenes in the movie In The Room to have exceeded our classification guidelines for sexual content”.

    “MDA informally advised the distributor that the film could be classified R21 with edits for commercial release. However, the application was subsequently withdrawn. As such, MDA has not officially classified the film for commercial release.

    “The film was classified R21 uncut for the (Singapore International Film Festival). More leeway is given to film festivals as they play to a niche audience and have limited screenings.”

    Khoo last month said he would not edit In The Room for the sake of a classification. 

    Written by Jonathan Lim and Andrew Hook, the drama consists of six short stories taking place over different decades in room 27 in the fictional Singapura Hotel.

    Dedicated to late author Damien Sin, it features a pan-Asian cast and a screenplay inspired by the soft-core foreign works of the 1970s, including The Story Of O (1975), but with references to moments in Singapore’s cultural and social history.

    The cast includes Hong Kong actress Josie Ho, Lawrence Wong from Malaysia and Choi Woo Shik from South Korea.

    An R21 classification means that only those aged 21 and older will be able to watch.

    One of the film’s producers, Tan Fong Cheng, told The Straits Times that the new version of In The Room is “sexier” than the version that played at the Singapore festival last year. “This is a new and improved version... Eric decided to work on the aesthetics to make it sexier,” she said.

    This international version will play here and overseas. It is set to open in Hong Kong, Taiwan and other countries later in the year. Visual effects were added and no cuts were made. The film’s 90-minute running time is unchanged and the two scenes referred to by MDA are still there.

    “He’s made them more sensual,” Tan said.