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Chinese Pull Two Films from Palm Springs Fest

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 6, 2010 at 6:16AM

According to the Palm Springs International Film festival, the reason why the China Film Group has pulled two films from the fest (which got under way Tuesday) is to protest the showing of Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's pro-Tibet doc The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom (trailer on jump). So China pulled the horrific Nanking film The City of Life and Death, which scored with audiences and critics at September's Toronto Film Fest; National Geographic Films is set to release it in March. The film's director, Lu Chuan, told the Hollywood Reporter that China is protesting the fest's inclusion of a film about the Dalai Lama.
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Thompson on Hollywood

According to the Palm Springs International Film festival, the reason why the China Film Group has pulled two films from the fest (which got under way Tuesday) is to protest the showing of Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's pro-Tibet doc The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom (trailer on jump). So China pulled the horrific Nanking film The City of Life and Death, which scored with audiences and critics at September's Toronto Film Fest; National Geographic Films is set to release it in March. The film's director, Lu Chuan, told the Hollywood Reporter that China is protesting the fest's inclusion of a film about the Dalai Lama.

China also pulled a second film, Ye Kai's short Quick Quick Slow Slow. “After meeting with representatives from the Chinese government regarding their request to cancel our screenings of The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom, we have respectfully declined their request," Festival Director Darryl Macdonald said. "I’m saddened that the Chinese film authorities have chosen to withdraw their films from PSIFF, as the Festival is an international cultural event whose mandate is to present a wide cross section of perspectives and points of view. That said, we cannot allow the concerns of one country or community to dictate what films we should or should not play, based on their own cultural or political perspective. Freedom of expression is a concept that is integral both to the validity of artistic events, and indeed, to the ethos of this country.”

This is not the first time China has interfered with its filmmakers showing their work abroad.

This article is related to: Festivals, Genres, Documentaries


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.