China’s media watchdog has approved screenings of the film Seek McCartney, which revolves around the romantic relationship between two male characters, making this the first gay-themed movie to ever make it to mainland Chinese theaters.
The film was co-produced in China in France, and stars Chinese actor Han Geng and critically acclaimed French performer Jérémie Elkaïm.
Seek McCartney director Wang Chao took to Weibo to announce that the film had passed China’s censors, calling the news “a small step for the regulator and a big step for filmmakers”.
The movie is expected to hit cinemas this coming winter.
Film critic Cheng Qiusong said in a Global Times report that Wang’s is “the first movie on gay relationships approved by the country’s regulators”.
Almost 10 years ago, high-grossing South Korean film The King and the Clown was banned from Chinese theaters because of ‘subtle gay themes’, and Taiwanese director Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain got the boot from mainland Cinemas the same year due to its ‘sensitive topic’.
Wang said the approval, which took over a year, “is a big step forward”.
Films with gay themes have long been accessible on internet streaming websites and available for buying at bootleg DVD stores in China, but it looks like the times are a-changin’… sort of. The Dead End, a Chinese film featuring a ‘passionate kiss’ between two male characters, was also given the OK for cinemas earlier this year.