The “Lost in Beijing” mystery continues.
While the film that screened Saturday in the Market — and is also in the main Competition — was generally well received, what flummoxed many was the fact that it was much tamer than it had been billed to be.
The film’s press agent Viviana Andriani said that the 113-minute version seen on Saturday was the definitive, uncensored director’s cut.
Pic had arrived in town after weeks of delicate negotiations between its Chinese producers and that country’s ever-vigilant censors.
The version screened Saturday was apparently untouched by the scissors.
Berlinale press head Frauke Greiner said that the fest has not yet taken delivery of its prints, which are supposedly those that the censors have snipped 15 minutes from.
“We can only show what we are given by the producer and director,” Greiner said.
So far Berlin has only received one English-language subtitled print, not the multiple German-titled prints it needs to have in store at least a couple of days before next week’s red carpet preem.
That left several of the 60 or so Market viewers, potential buyers and fest programmers, scratching their heads.
The had expected to see much more dirt, both sexual and political, on the screen.
Instead, the full-frontal nudity that everyone’s been talking about was absent, a rape scene was less than graphic, and the tone of the pic was not overly subversive.
There was to be sure just one scene where a Chinese official took a bribe.
So what were the censors so hot and bothered about? We may never know.
“Interesting, interesting,” Tribeca programmer Peter Scarlett said.
“At first I didn’t think I was going to like it, but it grew on me a lot,” former Quinzaine head Marie-Pierre Macia said.