After spending decades in the film business, Quentin Tarantino had yet to get a film into China, now the second largest movie market in the world. His previous attempts have failed to meet with the stringent and sometimes erratic demands of the country’s censors.
However, on 11 April, Tarantino’s recent Academy Award-nominated film Django Unchained was set to premiere – and it did – for about one minute.
The authorities, whom I like to imagine have some kind of Commissioner Gordon batphone to movie theatres, called in and put the kibosh on Django.
According to reports from China’s Sina website the Chinese authorities sent a notice to the film industry companies that “due to technical issues, the movie Django Unchained is suspended in the country.”
This was accompanied by the internet posting of a movie goer who claimed that the movie was shut down “one minute after starting.”
No light has been shed on what exactly the “technical issues” are.
It was widely reported leading up to the release of Django that it would undergo some tweaking with the levels of blood splashing and shading altered, presumably at the hands of Tarantino himself. So while it seems the movie had already been vetted, it’s hard to imaging what caused the sudden change of heart.
Internet speculation suggested that a brief nude scene managed to slip through the censors. Others guessed that a movie about a slave who takes violent revenge against his oppressors might be considered a dangerous theme for the authorities.
And yet still there has been no word to anyone including the makers of the film on why the show was cancelled or when, if ever, it would return.
In my personal opinion, Tarantino wouldn’t have this problem if he would just get around to reading the treatment I sent him about a dragon who gives out lollipops and warns people about the dangers of free market capitalism. It’s a hoot.