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Taiwan’s ‘Cape’ hits red tape

Mainland Chinese authorities delay Jan. release

HONG KONG — Mainland Chinese authorities are rethinking plans to release Taiwanese hit “Cape No. 7.”

Set to become the first Taiwan-set film distributed in China in more than a decade, the January release has been delayed indefinitely, apparently due to fears its themes could derail improving Taiwan-China relations.

China Film Group, the film’s mainland distributor, appears to have run into difficulties getting “Cape” through state censors.

“(Chinese) customs and the China Film Group still need to negotiate (away) some problems,” Wang Ying-shyang, chairman of Long Shong Film Co., pic Taiwanese distributor, says.

Adds Wen Li, a spokeswoman for CFG: “Both sides are still discussing the issue, but as it stands, with more than 30 films scheduled for the New Year Golden Week, there isn’t space to release ‘Cape.’ ”

Wen says more time is required to allow producers to re-subtitle the film into simplified Chinese for the mainland audience, due to the film’s heavy use of Japanese, and Hokkien and Hakka dialects.

China and Taiwan have had strained political relations for the past 59 years, but recent months have seen a thawing that has allowed people to travel between the two territories more easily.

“Cape,” which became a boffo hit in Taiwan with $13.8 million, is on course to repeat that success across much of Asia.

The melodramatic love story between a Taiwanese rock musician and his Japanese publicist is understood to have riled Chinese politicos with its depiction of post-colonial Taiwan in the 1940s.

Top-ranking Chinese diplomat Chen Yun-lin (second ref: Chen) says that the film’s portrayal of the Japanese colonization of Taiwan could stir up nationalistic emotions in the general public, which could jeopardize current cross-straits relations.

China and Taiwan separately put forward contenders for the foreign-language Oscar. “Cape” was nominated by Taiwan. China picked a Beijing Olympics-themed documentary “Dreamweavers.”

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