TAIPEI — Director Tsai Ming-liang’s “The Wayward Cloud,” fresh from a ratings certification controversy, is skedded to hit screens in its entirety in early summer.
Pic gained attention in late February when the certification process for the racy musical pitted Tsai against Taiwan’s Government Information Office (GIO), which views and, in some cases, censors pics. The GIO had approved an earlier cut of “The Wayward Cloud” for local exhibition. However, Tsai took a different, far more explicit, version of pic to the Berlin Film Festival.
After nabbing trophies in Berlin, helmer lobbed a preemptive strike at government officials back home by declaring he wanted his new cut screened locally in its entirety or not at all.
Tsai’s maneuver boxed GIO officials into a corner. They responded that “The Wayward Cloud” had to be viewed and approved again.
A government certification board on Feb. 24 approved “The Wayward Cloud” for public screening. The 15-member board voted 9-6 to allow pic to be exhibited with no cuts and gave it the Taiwanese equivalent of an R rating.
After the announcement, GIO reps downplayed the ratings snafu and emphasized this was the regular route for the certification of all pics.
Whether or not the flare-up will help “The Wayward Cloud” at the box office remains to be seen. Tsai’s pics, many of which have won kudos on the international film festival circuit, usually come home to empty theaters. As one exhib noted, “This whole controversy isn’t going to help sell tickets.”