Berlin wants Chinese film shown at festival

6th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

6 January 2006, Berlin (dpa) - Berlin Film Festival organizers remained confident Monday that a movie from China which censors in Beijing have attempted to block from being screened at the Berlinale, would be shown at the festival that starts this week. The film, Lost in Beijing (Ping Guo), from 34-year-old Chinese director Li Yu, was one two films selected for the main competition of the Berlinale, which is one of the world's top film festivals and which has become a major venue for showcasing Asian cinem

 6 January 2006

Berlin (dpa) - Berlin Film Festival organizers remained confident Monday that a movie from China which censors in Beijing have attempted to block from being screened at the Berlinale, would be shown at the festival that starts this week.

The film, Lost in Beijing (Ping Guo), from 34-year-old Chinese director Li Yu, was one two films selected for the main competition of the Berlinale, which is one of the world's top film festivals and which has become a major venue for showcasing Asian cinema.

But China's Film Bureau said that despite a round of cuts by the director that sex and gambling scenes in Lost in Beijing means that it was not suitable to be shown at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival.

However, a Berlinale spokeswoman said that Lost in Beijing had not been removed from the festival program and was still among the 26 movies that were competing for the festival coveted Golden Bear.

"We have not heard anything new," she said, referring to whether the film, which is to be screened on February 16 near the end of the 10-day festival, would be pulled out of the festival.

Li believes that any further cuts to her movie, which she had planned to premiere in Berlin, would destroy it.

Set against the backdrop of the thousands of peasants that stream into Beijing in search of work, Lost in Beijing is about the relationship that emerges between a Beijing massage parlour boss and a worker.

It stars one of Hong Kong's leading actors, Tony Leung along with mainland Chinese actor Fan Bingbing,

With directors requiring Beijing's approval for showing their movies at foreign film festivals, Chinese filmmakers have become use to the often heavy-handed approach of the nation's censors.

In particular, the censors in Beijing have been very sensitive to films portraying contemporary life or movies that in some way touch on politically charged issues such as Tiananmen Square where the Chinese authorities launched a major crackdown of pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989.

Or more generally, subjects which in some way the censors consider to be not morally acceptable.

One Chinese director was last year banned from working for five years for failing to obtain Beijing's permission for the screening of a movie at the Cannes film.

The other film from China to be shown in Berlin this year is Tuya's Marriage (Tu ya de hun shi), by Wang Quan'an, which tells the story of a woman's efforts to find a new husband who can take care of both her and her sick ex-husband.

China has ambitions to emerge as a new Asian cinema powerhouse.

But real concern in China's film business is that the censorship could ultimately result in some of the most talented members of the industry leaving the country in search of work in other nations.

"Although I try to be a pure artist, I am not," said Chen Kaige at last year's Berlin Film Festival following the screening of his movie The Promise (Wuji).

"The truth is I have to listen to so many people about how to cut the film," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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