War film premiere shot down

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 27 Jun 2019

The premiere of war epic The Eight Hundred has been cancelled - apparently a victim of censorship after an association of retired party cadres deemed it "inappropriate" ahead of the 70th anniversary of Chinese Communist Party rule.

Hailed as the Chinese Dunkirk, the film details the story of an army unit fighting Japanese invaders in 1937's Battle of Shanghai.

After consultation between the production team and other parties the July 5 premiere was cancelled, read a statement on the film's Weibo account. "The new release date will be announced at a later time," it added.

But the movie, which director Guan Hu spent 10 years making, was yanked from the Shanghai International Film Festival this month due to "technical issues" - a term often used as a euphemism for censorship.

Five days before that action the Chinese Red Culture Research Association, managed by the Academy of Social Sciences, held a seminar on filmmaking, and The Eight Hundred was criticized for glorifying the heroic role of the Kuomintang nationalists.

Now the cancellation of the premiere has renewed speculation about motives.

"The film industry cannot go on like this," director Jia Zhangke wrote on Weibo.


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