Tue, May 23, 2006 - Page 4 News List

PRC director may be penalized for Cannes screening


Chinese director Lou Ye (婁燁) could be banned from making movies in his home country for five years because his new film Summer Palace was screened at Cannes last week without government approval, a report said yesterday.

Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper said Lou also may face a fine over the movie, a sexually explicit love story set against China's pro-democracy protests of 1989, which led up to the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Lou attended the premiere of the film at the Cannes Film Festival in France last Thursday.

Apple Daily also reported that Chinese authorities have ordered local news outlets not to report on Summer Palace at Cannes and that some members of the state media departed early from the film festival.

However, Nai An (耐安), one of the film's producers, said Chinese authorities have not ordered any punishment or mentioned anything about violations of content rules or other regulations.

"I haven't received any notification ... This is the prediction of the media based on experience," she said in an interview.

In 2000, when Jiang Wen's (姜文) Devils on the Doorstep showed at Cannes without government approval, censors kept the movie off the Chinese market, angering investors.

In 1997, China pulled Zhang Yimou's (張藝謀) film Keep Cool from the festival competition.

Nai said she has followed protocol in handling Summer Palace.

"In fulfilling my responsibilities, I've taken every step I should," she said, adding that government censors have rejected the film twice because the prints they submitted didn't meet technical specifications for brightness of image and sound quality.

Still, Summer Place deals with a highly sensitive subject.

The student protests ended with the crackdown at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, which left hundreds if not thousands dead. Chinese authorities still maintain the demonstrations were counterrevolutionary riots.

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