‘Beijing’ team ready to defy censors

Chinese pic will be shown uncut in the Berlin market

BERLIN — Producers and sales agents representing Chinese film “Lost in Beijing” are prepared to risk the wrath of the censors and will show the film in its uncut version at Berlin’s European Film Market.

China’s Film Bureau has already told the filmmakers that the pic should not compete in the Berlinale’s main competition, as it has not been approved by its censors.

In the statement Tuesday, Chinese production company Laurel Films and French sales agent Films Distribution said the Li Yu-helmed picture also will screen in the competition. For that, they need to come to an understanding with the censors that they have so far failed to reach, after multiple screenings of different versions of the drama.

The censor objected to sex scenes and questioned certain moral values depicted and originally asked for 15 cuts.

“Films Distribution, in agreement with Li Yu and the producer Fang Li have decided that it will screen the integral, uncensored version on the market screenings regardless of the censors’ decisions,” company said in a statement.

As the market screenings are for buyers and not open to the public, the filmmakers could technically argue they have not contravened the Film Bureau’s ban.

Company said it still hopes to reach agreement with the Film Bureau for a public screening of a version with different cuts before its skedded Feb. 15 competition slot. “But we still don’t know which version will be discovered by the Berlinale audience,” it said.

The government requires that all Chinese-made films receive full approval before traveling to foreign festivals. Filmmakers who skirt the reg risk penalties that include being banned from working.

Fang and “Lost” co-producer Sylvain Bursztejn both were involved in “Summer Palace,” which screened in Cannes last year against the Film Bureau’s wishes and earned helmer Lou Ye a five-year ban.

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