Censorship in China

China censors cut 40 minutes off science fiction epic Cloud Atlas

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 4:21pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 6:05pm

State media censors will edit out a hefty 35-minutes of film from German science fiction drama Cloud Atlas before its release next week, Shanghai-based Dongfang Daily reported on Wednesday.

The original film, based on the novel of the same name, spanned 172-minutes long for European and American markets but was cut to just 137 for its mainland version, according to the film’s directors.

The mainland edit of the latest James Bond movie Skyfall, which was released Monday, also had a significant number of scenes deleted.

“Although the mainland version is a bit constrained, [we] fully believe in the regulator’s editing standards,” said Cloud Atlas co-director Tom Tykwer, who was in Beijing on Tuesday to promote the movie ahead of its January 31 release.

Tykwer co-directed the film with Andy and Lana Wachowski.

The film’s mainland partner, Dreams of the Dragon Pictures, also acknowledged the cuts and said it was only following regulations of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft).

Material deleted mainly comprised of love scenes, gory sequences and nudity. A number of same-sex love scenes between actors Ben Whishaw and James D’Arcy were also cut from the film due to the Sarft’s strict ban on homosexual content.

The 2012 film, which weaves together story lines spanning several centuries, from 1849 all the way to a future, features an ensemble cast starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugo Weaving.

Mainland actress Zhou Xun has a small role in the film and appears in a sex scene which is expected to be cut.

Cloud Atlas opened to mostly negative reviews and barely managed to put a dent in the US box office. According to the Dongfang Daily, the US$100 million production must earn at least 1 billion yuan (US$160 million) to recoup huge losses incurred globally.

After years of pressure, China last year agreed to increase the annual number of imported films from 20 to 34, in a year when 893 films were produced domestically.

Additional reporting from the Associated Press