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.