China’s film regulators have approved the theatrical release of the first openly gay love story.

The film “Seek McCartney” (previously “Looking for Rohmer”) was directed by established auteur Wang Chao, whose “Fantasia” was in Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2014..

Wang announced the news on his microblog. He called it “a small step for the regulator and a big step for film makers”. The film does not yet have a release date.

Set up as a Chinese-French co-production, with Reboot Films, and French financier Olivier Aknin as producer, the film stars Han Geng and France’s Jeremie Elkaim.

China’s censors have previously been squeamish about gay subjects on the big screen, where there is no rating system and films are expected to be capable of being shown to audiences of all ages.

In the past Korean film “The King And the Clown” was not permitted in theaters because of its subtle gay themes. And gay cowboy movie, “Brokeback Mountain” despite it being directed by celebrated Taiwan-born Ang Lee. Films with gay themes have often been more easily available in the video market.