What is your take on Beauty And The Beast?
Okay, but have you watched it yet?
The movie only opens only on March 16 in Singapore, but it has already been generating the sort of buzz that is usually reserved for a Star Wars or Harry Potter film.
Quite a number of Christian organisations have spoken out against the film
The National Council of Churches Singapore (NCCS) said on Tuesday, March 14, that the inclusion of a “gay moment” in Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty And The Beast is “totally unnecessary”, noting that this is the first time an explicitly gay character is introduced in a Disney big-screen production.
On the same day, the Roman Catholic Church of Singapore said that “parents must discern and reflect with their children” on whether the lifestyle portrayed is consonant with the church’s teachings and explain the implications and the consequences of such a lifestyle for themselves and society.
Over the weekend, Anglican Bishop Rennis Ponniah has issued a statement released on the St Andrew’s Cathedral website urging the clergy and deaconesses to alert their congregation about the homosexual content in the movie.
And The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) also had something to say about the film
In response to queries from Mothership.sg, an IMDA spokesperson said:
“IMDA’s film classification approach gives audiences access to a wider range of media choices while protecting our young from unsuitable content. Central to IMDA’s classification framework is the use of age-ratings and advisories to help consumers make informed media choices.
Based on the Film Classification Guidelines, Beauty and the Beast was rated PG (Parental Guidance) as it contains mild portrayals of violence. This is also the assessment of the Films Consultative Panel.”
The Films Consultative Panel comprises volunteers from various professions, ages, races and religions.
What do we make of these responses so far?
Looking at the glass half-full, it is commendable that various important stake-holders in society are voicing their opinions in public.
The churches have become more pro-active in its stance on issues or values they disagree with.
Whereas IMDA has to continue to remind everyone that Singapore is a secular, diverse and inclusive society that is not so cool with violence.
Hence, the movie was given a PG (Parental Guidance) rating by IMDA for “mild portrayals of violence”.
In fact, one should commend IMDA for not censoring the film.
Just across the causeway, Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board approved Beauty And The Beast for a P13 rating after requesting cuts of about four-and-a-half minutes from a subplot with a “gay moment”.
Let’s not allow these opinions to escalate
In a diverse society like Singapore, it is important for everyone to be more tolerant of differences.
And we need to know that attitudes towards LGBT issues are not going to be resolved anytime soon.
But now that some of the religious groups and the state have said their piece, it is up to Singaporeans, religious or non religious, to decide whether they want to:
i) Watch the film;
ii) Not watch the film;
iii) Watch the film alone;
iv) Watch the film with their family
And after the next few weeks of screening, maybe we can be more circumspect in our views on the film as we celebrate what’s right about Singapore, namely, its openness to screen the film uncut and the diversity of voices for/ against it — and not what’s wrong with our country.
Spoiler alert: Turn your phone upside down to read all about the LeFou gay moments that transpired in Beauty And The Beast:
Top photo from Beauty And The Beast Facebook page.