Gay Films Have a Real Hard Time in China

With ‘Call Me by Your Name’ banned from a Beijing showing, CFI’s content partner Sixth Tone looks at which LGBT films made it to Chinese screens — and which were given the shaft.

a still from “The Wedding Banquet” (1993, Dir. Ang Lee)

Gay romance blockbuster “Call Me by Your Name” has been pulled from its scheduled screening at the Beijing International Film Festival in April, according to Reuters. The sensual film, set against the heady splendor of an Italian summer, won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay earlier this month. On movie review site Rotten Tomatoes, it has an enviable score of 8.7 out of 10 — even higher than the 8.3 rating for “Brokeback Mountain,” another film featuring a same-sex relationship that was banned from screening in China.

Movies with LGBT characters or themes often fall prey to scrutiny from media regulators, as representations of a minority group that has had a rocky relationship with government.

Zhang Yan, a 27-year-old film critic in Shanghai, told Sixth Tone that it was “not very surprising” to see “Call Me by Your Name” disappear from the festival roster. Zhang — who adopts the name “Dadou” when hosting her popular film podcast “What FM” — added that the political atmosphere could make things difficult for young Chinese filmmakers.

Nonetheless, a number of foreign and Chinese films with LGBT storylines are well-known in the country — regardless of whether they made it to the big screen. Learn more about these films and what happened to them in China, read the full article here.


This is original content by Sixth Tone and has been republished with permission.