Metro Weekly

Chinese film festival pulls “Call Me by Your Name,” likely due to gay content

Oscar-winning gay drama denied by media regulators for its same-sex romance, according to Reuters

Call Me By Your Name

The Beijing International Film Festival has pulled a screening of Oscar-winning drama Call Me by Your Name, a move widely suspected to be due to the film’s gay content.

Sony Pictures Entertainment told Reuters that the April screening had been canceled, but did not provide a reason for the cancellation.

However, Reuters speculated that Call Me by Your Name was pulled from the schedule due to China’s complex relationship with homosexuality. It is not illegal to be gay in the country, but hostile and conservative attitudes remain.

“This movie is in deviation from the policy environment in China,” Wu Jian, a film analyst, told Reuters. He called the decision to cancel the screening of the film, which won an Oscar earlier this year for Best Adapted Screenplay, “quite embarrassing for China.”

The festival’s organizers declined to comment on the story, but Reuters notes that a person close to the matter said the film was pulled after the screening proposal was not approved by regulators.

Despite roadblocks, attitudes are gradually changing in the world’s most populous country. Earlier this year, a Beijing court agreed to hear a case challenging the decision by China’s media watchdog to classify same-sex relationships as “abnormal.”

The case demands the watchdog provide a legal basis for censoring same-sex content, reports the South China Morning Post.

“Even if the authorities are just doing this to put on a show in court by accepting the case, at least it is willing to put on a show,” said Brian Leung Siu-fai, chief campaigner with Hong Kong LGBTQ rights group Big Love Alliance.

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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