Tarantino’s movies still censored in China

Yuou Chen, a long Chinese fan of Quentin Tarantino.

Yuou Chen, a long Chinese fan of Quentin Tarantino.

I need to confess: I am a Quentin Tarantino’s fan. I watched Django Unchained with my friends in Cardiff as soon as I got back from my holiday in China. I could not wait one more day to watch this fantastic movie.

My friends in China were jealous since they thought this movie would never be released in China.

However, one month after I arrived in Wales, my friends posted on Weibo “What an amazing news that Django Unchained will be screened in China!”

And this was an important day for all Chinese fans of Tarantino. On April 11, 2013, it was the first time that one of Tarantino’s movies was released in mainland China.

In the previous twenty years, no film directed by this prominent American director was formally introduced to mainland China. In 2002, parts of scene of his work Kill Bill were shooting in Beijing, which may be the nearest touch Tarantino with China.

In order to access the Chinese market, Tarantino himself realized that he had to moderate his manic obsession for blood while not affecting the quality of the movie and the famous signature of the director.

The movie was categorised R in the United States, which means that people who are under 17 must be accompanied by their parents to watch it. Many Chinese people cannot imagine what a Tarantino movie would look like without this classification system and censorship.

Chinese media and movie blogs speculated that the movie was withdrawn from the Chinese market because state censors were shocked by a scene of nudity. That explanation seems unlikely, however, given the careful examination the movie is said to have undergone before it was approved for release.

This news relieved many Tarantino’s fans who think that a censored movie is not really the crazy American director’s movie. Although people can download this movie on the internet or buy pirating DVD, lots of people still look forward to watching this film on big screens.

The usual violence and provocation in Quentin Tarantino’s movies contradict with the Chinese official mainstream culture, which attempts at controlling people’s spiritual life. Censorship board has restricted audiences to enjoy Tarantino’s view of life, even though Chinese people can have access to Tarantino’s movies by other means.

The movie fans cannot believe when the news comes that Django Unchained will be released in Chinese mainland. However, it makes sense for them of the last-minute  decision by the Chinese Censorship Board.

People walk past a poster for Django Unchained outside a cinema in Shanghai

A poster of the latest Tarantino’s movie, Django Unchained, outside a cinema in Shanghai.
Image: How Hwee Young/EPA

Yuou Chen


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