‘Moonlight’ to Screen at Beijing International Film Festival, Maybe More

Oscar winner’s showing at the festival could lead to a larger China run.
Oscar’s Best Picture winner Moonlight is heading for Chinese cinema screens, the film’s production company A24 is looking at a theatrical release which is “in the process of being formalized,” reported Deadline on Wednesday.

But if A24 is successful in getting a wide release, it would be another sign that Chinese censors have become a bit more chilled out about films with gay themes.

The low-budget film is a coming-of-age story about a black gay boy with a drug-addicted mother — not the usual fare you see on Chinese cinema screens.

There have been some promising signs lately that gay-themed films are being given a wider berth by the country’s media watchdog.

In January, movie regulators re-approved the release of Seek McCartney (寻找罗麦), a film which has been dubbed China’s first gay-themed commercial movie.

Only last week, state media outlet The People’s Daily bragged on Twitter that, unlike Malaysian censors, they had not cut the “gay moment” from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Malaysia, which had initially banned the film, ended up relenting and theaters there will be screening the live-action remake of the beloved animation without cuts.

The apparent new-found openness on the part of Chinese censors is odd given that last year the media watchdog put the kibosh on gay themes in television shows.

So, watch this space. If Moonlight makes it, we’ll know there’s been some sort of a cultural shift among Beijing’s cultural bureaucrats.