Django unclothed does less harm to audiences than screeners’ whims

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-4-14 19:13:01

Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained was abruptly pulled from theaters in China on its opening date on Thursday.

"Technical problems" was the official reason given while industry insiders have guessed that the film was held up because some nude scenes have been neglected in the previous censorship process and the cancellation of screenings is a remedial measure.

But I believe the unexpected cancellation will do far more damage to China's image than the sight of Jamie Foxx's bare bottom could do to a Chinese audience. 

Django Unchained is a much acclaimed and Oscar-winning movie.

The release of this movie in China, coupled with this incident, confirms the negative image of China's film censorship. The sudden pulling of the movie is disrespectful to both the market and the audiences.

The fob-off of claimed "technical problems" is not enough to answer public questions. The departments involved should provide more detailed explanations.

Compared with other booming national industries, China's film industry is relatively backward.

Many people attribute this to censorship. Facing long-standing controversies over censorship, responses from relative departments are always not positive enough.

Every country or region has its own film censorship in accordance with its laws and regulations.

To meet China's laws, regulations and cultural customs, it is understandable to cut nude and bloody scenes in imported films.

However, there are some serious drawbacks existing in China's film censorship and management system.

To some degree, film censorship is an administrative intervention in the market. It has obvious characteristic of "the rule of man" rather than the rule of law.

Different censors have various standards and flexible degrees. But generally speaking, China's censorship is too strict and overly rigid.

Due to the development of the Internet, audiences have a far wider choice than before. The standards of film censorship should also advance with the times. Otherwise, they will become an obstacle to film industry's development.

Due to the lack of a clear ratings system, China's film censorship mainly depends on the individual whims of censors, which leads to unexpected problems like the one Django Unchained faces.

The departments in charge should conduct extensive studies on film censorship and ratings system.

A ratings system is implemented in the vast majority of countries and regions in the world, including Hong Kong and Taiwan. However, there's a misunderstanding in China that a ratings system will bring messy elements, such as bloody scenes and violence, into theaters.

In fact, a ratings system will more effectively protect adolescents. Academic discussion is required on the film censorship and ratings system.

The overall domestic box office is growing in recent years and people's demand for culture is also increasing. Film management departments should undertake bold reforms to keep pace with the times. Such reform will also create a favorable external environment for the development of the national film industry.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Xue Xiaole based on an interview with Shi Chuan, vice president of Shanghai Film Association.

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