×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Zhang Yimou’s ‘One Second’ Pulled From Berlin Festival Lineup

Zhang Yimou’s “One Second,” set during China’s 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, has been withdrawn from the Berlin Film Festival, where it was to premiere in competition.

A post Monday on the film’s official Weibo social media site announced that the film had been yanked, saying that it was for “technical reasons.” The festival confirmed the information, and explained that the film had not been completed.

The move means that Berlin’s competition section will drop from 17 to 16 films. However, Berlin expects to play another, older, film by Zhang in the same time slot on Friday, albeit out of competition. Sources close to the festival said that Zhang’s 2002 art-house actioner “Hero” will fill the slot.

Though Zhang had positioned “One Second” as his personal tribute to cinema, speculation immediately arose that the film was withdrawn for political reasons. “One Second” is set during China’s 1966-76 Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong, a period that the Communist Party has itself acknowledged was disastrous but that remains a sensitive, if not taboo, topic.

Zhang’s film is the second Chinese film to be pulled from Berlin this year. The first was “Better Days,” a story about a disaffected youth, which was to premiere in the Generation section. Sources told Variety that that movie was withdrawn for censorship reasons, though the public stance has been to say that “Better Days” was not completed in time.

The official social media site for “One Second” said enigmatically: ” ‘One Second’ is not allowed to be showed at the Berlin International Film Festival for technical reasons. Apologies.”

China has been undergoing considerable political and cultural tightening over the past year under President Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao. And responsibility for regulating the entertainment industry last year was moved directly under the Communist Party’s Propaganda department.

“One Second” was produced through auteur-controlled production and streaming conglomerate Huanxi Media. Hong Kong’s Edko Films recently picked up international sales rights outside Greater China. Earlier this week, Edko said that the film had not been shown privately to buyers and that it had not yet completed licensing deals.

Neither Kong or Edko sales representatives in Berlin have responded to Variety‘s requests for comment.

Rumors of possible withdrawal have similarly dogged Lou Ye’s “The Shadow Play” which was scheduled to play in Berlin’s Panorama section on Monday. The film is a gritty, recent history drama about corrupt property developers. It features the grim discovery of a body, presumably murdered, in its opening scene, and in its first reel depicts a riot by village dwellers against forced eviction. Those are elements that typically attract the wrath of Chinese censors.

But the festival went ahead with a press screening of “Shadow Play,” preceded by display of the Dragon Seal that shows it has passed censorship. A press conference followed.

More Film

  • WGA West Logo

    WGA Plans March 25 Member Vote on Talent Agency Rules

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America plan a March 25 vote for members to decide whether to implement tough new restrictions on how Hollywood talent agencies as operate as agents for writer clients. The vote comes as the guild is in the midst of pitched negotiations with the Association of Talent Agents to renew [...]

  • Netflix Buys Chinese Sci-fi Hit 'Wandering

    Netflix Buys Chinese Sci-fi Hit 'Wandering Earth'

    Global streaming giant, Netflix has bought rights to “The Wandering Earth,“ the smash hit film which is pitched as China’s first mainstream sci-fi movie. The film was the sleeper hit of Chinese New Year — it opened in fourth position on Feb. 5 — but climbed to the top spot and has not yet relinquished [...]

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan's Hitman Drama 'Silver Bear' Gets Director

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan’s “The Silver Bear” finds a director, biopic “Running for My Life” is in the works, Fox is using new trailer compliance software and the 14-hour “La Flor” gets distribution. DIRECTOR ATTACHMENT Gerard McMurray, director of “The First Purge,” will write and direct Michael B. Jordan’s thriller “The [...]

  • Kevin Costner Diane Lane

    Kevin Costner, Diane Lane to Reunite in Suspense Thriller 'Let Him Go'

    Focus Features has tapped Kevin Costner and Diane Lane to star as a husband and wife in the suspense thriller “Let Him Go.” The two also collaborated on “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Thomas Bezucha (“The Family Stone”) is set to direct his own screenplay, based on Larry Watson’s novel [...]

  • Chris Hemsworth Hulk Hogan

    Chris Hemsworth to Play Hulk Hogan in Biopic for Netflix

    Netflix is in the early stages of developing a Hulk Hogan biopic with Chris Hemsworth attached to star as the wrestling legend and produce. Netflix has obtained the exclusive life rights and consulting services from Terry Gene Bollea AKA Hulk Hogan. Todd Phillips, whose credits include “War Dogs” and “The Hangover” trilogy, is attached to [...]

  • Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant

    Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant Winners

    Swedish documentary filmmaker Anastasia Kirillova and “Negative Space” co-directors Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter are among the filmmakers who will receive grants from Rooftop Films to help complete their upcoming projects. Kirilova will be awarded $20,000 to finish her film, “In the Shadows of Love,” while collaborators Kuwahata and Porter will receive $10,000 for “Dandelion [...]

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content