Chinese director takes on Oliver Stone over his criticism of China’s film industry

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 April, 2014, 5:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 April, 2014, 2:37am

A Chinese film director has hit back at American filmmaker Oliver Stone after the Oscar winner accused counterparts in China of not confronting the damaging legacy of the country's past.

Ning Hao, best known for his low-budget hit Crazy Stone, accused Stone of "finding fault with China" after the Platoon director criticised Chinese filmmakers for not being honest when it comes to making films about the country's history.

"Mao Zedong has been lionised in dozens and dozens of Chinese films, but never criticised," Stone told an audience in Beijing during a panel discussion on co-productions between China and Hollywood last week. "It's about time. You've got to make a movie about Mao, about the Cultural Revolution."

Phoenix News reported that in an interview with the state-owned Global Times, Ning, whose latest comedy-thriller No Man's Land also fell victim to the country's censorship rules, hit back at Stone, saying China's situation was far more complicated.

"There are always certain subjects that remain sensitive. He was kind of finding fault with China," Ning was quoted as saying. "Will he be all right with it if we start making films about September 11?"

Ning's comments triggered heated discussion on Chinese social media.

Cultural critic Cui Weiping voiced disappointment at Stone's remarks. "The Cultural Revolution and September 11 are both the tragedy of a nation, but the former was a long-lasting war against its own people.

"By comparing a system restricted by censorship to one that is free from censorship, [the director] was taking abnormal as normal," Cui wrote online.

Others, including critic Li Xingwen, faulted both directors.

"Stone was talking like a global policeman whereas Ning was like a servant of the country," Li wrote.