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Summer Palace rejected over aesthetic differences

Lou Ye's Summer Palace has not received approval from the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, and as a result, the film will not screen at Cannes as scheduled. Filmmakers say they want to preserve their chances of selling the movie to a domestic audience, and they have put Cannes behind them. Lou Ye has reportedly already returned home from France.

Summer Palace tells a love story set against a backdrop of historical changes taking place in China and Germany beginning in the 1980s. Earlier rumors said that the censors requested changes because of "sensitive subject matter" related to some of the historical changes of the 1980s, and Lou Ye was said to have refused to alter his movie.

Other rumors said that the movie was being held up because it had received international financing. A producers' representative told The Beijing News that this was not the case - investors were all domestic, although the film had received donations from overseas and had used income from overseas presales during production. Finally, there was controversy over who had submitted the film to Cannes in the first place; though the script had passed inspection, the movie was unfinished and ought not to have been put up for awards prior to receiving final approval.

But this latest rejection comes for technical reasons, say the producers - "the picture was too fuzzy, and the sound was too low." According to TBN

"Lou Ye tried out some new artistic methods in this film, but the committee of censors judged it as not being up to technical standards. This struck a blow to the director, and he cannot accept this result at present." Ms. Nai An says she believes that Lou Ye may have been pursuing visual effects and so used fuzzy lenses, but that the censors were unable to accept this kind of artistic experimentation. "Lou Ye needs to consider calmly what it is he is pursuing.

If the producers' side of the story proves true, it may be that China has narrowly dodged a bullet here - sending anything but a slick, polished exhibition piece to Cannes could betray the spirit of the festival and tarnish China's image in the process.

Update: Summer Palace did end up screening at Cannes - a "first-rate drama," the Guardian reports.

Update II: Lou Ye got punished. See the end of this post. Also, an interview with Lou in the Guardian.

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There are currently 2 Comments for Summer Palace rejected over aesthetic differences.

Comments on Summer Palace rejected over aesthetic differences

heavy handed censorship does more to tarnish China's international image. The censorial practice of this site is also a disgrace and makes a mockery of news gathering.

Their goverment tries hard in order to keeping their absolute rule over the country by erasing that period of history - as hard as they can - to prevent Chinese people especially the young from getting to know the truth.

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