So long ago since the days of Bill and Ted; this year, Keanu Reeves is trying his hand at directing, and his film Man of Tai Chi takes place right here in China. In an interview with Canadian talk show host George Stroumboplis, he describes how he is surprisingly understanding of the Chinese censorship laws, and how he worked around them.
“They don’t have a ratings system in mainland China. So the idea is films have to be able to be seen by all ages. So there’s no PG-13 or R or anything like that. And then there’s content. Obviously the censorship has content issues. I had to take down some of the violence. So I had one sequence where the lead punched someone in the head 11 times … so we made it five. And that was OK. It got the story across … and then another one was 32 and that went to 17.”
China’s harsh censorship policy when it comes to the film industry is well known. Many of the big names, in order to access the 1.3 billion potential viewers, will create “China cuts” of their work, toned down to appropriateness. The Chinese version of Iron Man 3 was a hilarious nightmare.
Keanu seems to have gotten off easy though, only pulling out a few punches here and there. Veteran filmmaker Robert Cain, remarked that “nothing bad or subversive ever happens in the modern-day communist utopia that is China. If you want to explore any salacious topics, either set them somewhere else, or in some cases, you can set them in the past.”
And as far as foreign films go, did anyone really think that they would let Django Unchained make it to Chinese cinemas?
By Lauren Holdcroft