China gates closed for Pirates

Mumbai: The dream run of Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest has stopped in China. The China’s Film Bureau officials have banned the film in China. The main reason they are citing is the movie’s depictions of eating human flesh, describing them as “horrible” and unsuitable for juveniles. The censors are also unhappy with the way the souls of the dead are depicted in the record-breaking blockbuster.

The first episode of the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl had grossed $3.3 million in its box office takings in China in 2003.

Despite continual calls from the film industry, China does not have a movie rating system. In some cases, film censors suggest producers to delete certain scenes involving violence or sex scenes and then rubber-stamp the movie later on. However, no one knows for sure what the criteria are for approval.

This is not the first time the China Film Bureau has taken harsh steps against Hollywood movies. Earlier this year, the Tom Cruise film Mission: Impossible III , was initially banned because scenes showing laundry hanging on a Shanghai washing line and old people playing mahjong were said to paint a poor image of the city.

Its producers had to make a few key cuts and the movie shall now be releasing this month. Oscar winning film, Memoirs of a Geisha too was pulled down at the last minute amid fears that it could inflame anti-Japanese sentiment because it featured two leading Chinese actresses, Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li, playing Japanese courtesans.

China restricts the number of non-native movies passed for theatrical release to 20 a year but co-productions are exempted. Movies featuring ghosts, horror movies, or any kind of sexual content, are strict no-no in China. So too are films that feature espionage, one of the reasons Chinese audiences have never seen James Bond in action in the cinema. Industry sources say that there might be a change of mind for the upcoming bond flick, Casino Royale, due later this year, but these are very much the exceptions.