Fans of “Call Me By Your Name” won’t be catching it in Beijing.
‘Call Me By Your Name’ has been pulled from a Chinese film festival
The Oscar-winning gay romance film has been pulled from the lineup of the Beijing International Film Festival, the film’s distributor said on Monday.
They did not comment on the reason for the decision.
The film, which won an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay at the 2018 Oscars, depicts a coming-of-age romance in northern Italy.
The film was pulled after a screening proposal submitted to regulators went unapproved, Reuters reported.
Clamp-downs and censorship
Being gay isn’t illegal in China, but the government is prone to occasional clamp-downs.
In July 2017, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) conference in the western city of Chengdu, known as China’s “gay capital,” had to be canceled, after the venue hosting it cited scheduling conflicts.
The Lesbian dating app Rela was also shut down in May 2017.
Last year, the Chinese government instituted new censorship rules for television that aimed to promote socialist values. On the banned content list: footage that depicted smoking, drinking, fighting or homosexuality.
At the beginning of this month the Chinese legislature consolidated its media regulators under the Communist Party’s publicity department, granting the party tighter control over all forms of media in China.
China’s film censorship tends to center on violence and sexual content. LGBT-themed films are sometimes passed, and sometimes banned.
“There is no clear policy on this issue, so we are always confused,” Xin Ying, executive director of the Beijing LGBT Centre, told Reuters.
He added that after the recent consolidation of media regulators, it was harder than ever to get clear direction.
“Officially China still has its a 'media gag' on news or art that ‘promotes homosexuality,’ hence it's not surprising that the movie was left out,” Gigi Chao, executive director of Hong Kong-based property conglomerate Cheuk Nang Holdings, told Inkstone.
Chao topped the Financial Times and Outstanding’s top 100 LGBT+ Executives list in 2016.
“I think restriction of the media or freedom of speech in China is one of the most highly criticised aspects of the county by its western counterparts, but in many ways China is very good at catching up to liberal values very quickly if the social climate is ready,” said Chao.
“Chinese culture is one which always encourages harmony and inclusion. Many of the first and second-tier cities are becoming very liberal in their arts scene, and without wanting to stereotype, the LGBTI community tends to be at the core. But the media gag law in China is still a major symbolic obstacle to acceptance.”
It’s an obstacle China seems to have no interest in removing.
Additional reporting by Juliana Liu.