A Government Information Office (GIO) official said yesterday that China had postponed the opening of the hit Taiwanese film Cape No. 7 (海角七號).
Frank Chen (陳志寬), director of the GIO’s Department of Motion Pictures, said LS Time Movie, the company that represents Cape No. 7, received an e-mail from its Chinese counterpart on Nov. 19 saying “[Chinese] customs and the publisher still need to negotiate some problems.”
The Chinese-language United Daily News quoted anonymous sources yesterday as saying Chinese officials had scuttled the plan to release Cape No. 7.
Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) told a conference in Beijing on Friday that the movie was tainted by its portrayal of Taiwanese who had been subject to “colonial brainwashing” and that traces of Japan’s kominka (assimilation) policy were evident, the paper said.
The paper said senior Chinese officials believed releasing the film could fuel nationalistic feelings, which would be counter to the peaceful atmosphere that Taiwan and China have been promoting.
Cape No. 7 is Taiwan’s most successful movie in years, earning more than NT$231 million (US$6.9 million) since its release on Aug. 22 and becoming the second top-grossing movie after Titanic.
The film is about a failed rocker who returns to his hometown and ends up playing in the opening act for a Japanese pop star and falling in love with a Japanese publicist. A voice-over tells the story of a Japanese man who fell in love with a Taiwanese woman, reading from love letters written by the man just after the end of World War II.
LS Time Movie chairman Wang Ying-hsiang (王應祥) told the GIO it had been asked to delay sending the movie to China, Chen said.
Frank Chen said the GIO would seek the help of ARATS to resolve the matter.
“[We] hope this movie will be released in China as soon as possible so that people in China will be able to experience the charm of Cape No. 7 and understand Taiwanese culture,” he said, adding: “Wang never said anything about it.”
“Cape No. 7 describes the culture of Taiwan and the bonds between people. I believe anyone would be moved by it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said censorship would make it difficult for Chinese to learn about Taiwan’s democracy and pluralistic society. Although Chen Yunlin had a smile on his face during his visit to Taipei, his reaction to the movie showed his real face, Cheng said.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang and AP