Directed by Jang Hoon, South Korean historical drama A Taxi Driver has attracted international acclaim, holding a sterling 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and being selected as South Korea’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. It’s also become the country’s top-grossing movie of 2017. Despite all that, the film’s prospects in China are not looking great.
A Taxi Driver tells the story of a down-on-his-luck Seoul cab driver in 1980, who, desperate for money, agrees to take a German journalist to the city of Gwangju where they witness government troops’ bloody crackdown against protesting university students and locals known as the Gwangju Uprising.
Considering China’s similar experience in 1989 — which the government does not like to talk about — you can see how this South Korean film might make it on to censors’ naughty list.
Indeed, while the movie initially received high marks on Douban, China’s IMDb, with a 9.1 rating, its page has since been harmonized.
Earlier today, China Digital Times revealed instructions sent out yesterday by the Beijing Cyberspace Administration Oversight Center, ordering censors to “find and delete all introductions, online encyclopedia entries, film reviews, recommendations, and other articles related to the August 2017 South Korean film ‘A Taxi Driver.'”
CDT cartoonist Badiucao was inspired to make the following illustration:
— 巴丢草 Badiucao (@badiucao) October 5, 2017
With the 19th Party Congress coming up, China’s censors have been working overtime. Last month, it was reported that the release of Feng Xiaogang’s film Youth had been delayed, allegedly so that it would not interfere with the congress. Feng’s latest flick is partially set during China’s 1979 war with Vietnam — yet another touchy subject in China.
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