The festival’s removal of the gay-themed coming-of-age film – first reported by Reuters – comes as Chinese authorities tighten their control over media content. Earlier this month, China’s rubber-stamp parliament voted to allow the Communist Party’s propaganda department to have control over film, news and publishing.
“Call Me by Your Name,” which is handled by Sony Pictures Entertainment, follows the romance between a teenager and a graduate student over a summer in the Italian countryside. The film was pulled from the Beijing festival after the screening proposal submitted was not approved by regulators, Reuters said, citing a source with knowledge of the matter. The movie had originally been set for a sidebar that featured standouts from other festivals, alongside “The Square,” “Lean on Pete” and “The Other Side of Hope.”
Although homosexuality is not illegal in China and gay activism has sprung up in the country’s urban centers, being gay is regarded with disapproval by much of Chinese society and the government.
The Beijing Film Festival runs April 16-23.