The local distributor of the Hollywood action film Colombiana has changed the film’s Chinese title after it was deemed “inappropriate” by government authorities.
Originally translated as Heilanjiao (黑蘭嬌), which means “black orchid beauty” in Mandarin, the film stars Avatar actress Zoe Saldana. The Government Information Office (GIO) asked the distributor, CatchPlay Inc, to rename the film because the Chinese pronunciation of the title sounds like the Taiwanese phrase for “penis.”
The GIO called it a “violation of public morals.”
“The translation came from the story itself, in which the killer draws a black orchid on her victims each time she takes revenge,” the distributor said. “We are sorry and will respect the decision of the GIO.”
The new title is Heilansha (黑蘭煞),” meaning “black beauty evil.”
However, the distributor also questioned the GIO’s move, asking why other controversial film title translations, such as Super 8 and the Thai horror movie Laddaland were approved.
Chu Wen-ching (朱文清), director of the GIO’s Department of Motion Picture, said that the first translation, Heilanjiao had no bearing on its original title in English, Colombiana, while the Chinese titles for the other two movies were directly translated from English.
“The film promotion is quite creative, but considering public perception, it is inappropriate for a movie title,” Chu said.
The decision was made by a five-member panel that included academics and women’s rights groups. The Luc Besson-Olivier Megaton film hits local cinemas on Sept. 9.