‘Summer’ catches heat from Chinese censors

Pic rejected by Film Bureau

CANNES — There’s a row between the French and Chinese producers of “Summer Palace,” the Chinese film selected for competition in Cannes.

Film was submitted and accepted by Cannes before it had a chance to be approved by the Chinese censors. Pic was resubmitted Tuesday and rejected by the Film Bureau.

” ‘Summer Palace’ has to give up the chance of competing for the Palme d’Or,” said Nai An, pic’s Chinese producer, “because the film bureau under the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television finally refused to approve it today.” Nai added that director Lou Ye was flying back to Beijing to plead with the bureau.

Film’s French co-producer Sylvain Bursztejn said, “They should really stop talking to journalists. Lou Ye is here in Cannes, happy, and the film is being screened for the press.” Festival press office told Variety that it fully expected Lou to be at today’s press conference.

Nai explained that the film could still be screened in Cannes if it were shown under his own name rather than carrying a Chinese flag. But having failed to gain the approval of the bureau it could only possibly get an underground release in China.

Notoriety of being banned could conceivably help B.O. prospects in France and other markets.

Lou was previously banned from making films for two years for “Suzhou River,” which was produced without official approval. It premed in Rotterdam in January 2000.

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