Sony Pictures is receiving backlash for releasing a self-censored cut of Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049” in Turkey. Film critic Burak Göral noticed that certain scenes from the U.S. theatrical trailer had been cropped in the Turkish theatrical version of the movie. One such scene, depicting Ryan Gosling and Sylvia Hoeks walking down a staircase surrounded by nude replicant clones, was cropped so that the nudity was removed from the movie.
The studio allegedly removed all nudity from the movie. Göral tweeted that the scene in the U.S. version where a nude, just-born replicant falls from a sack was removed from the Turkish film entirely. The critic received word from Sony that “in some territories, [the studio] supplied slightly edited versions of the film to be respectful of local culture.” But the studio’s decision to self-censor the film based on what it believed to be respectful to Turkish culture has upset the country’s film community.
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Turkey’s Film Critics Association (SİYAD) has issued an open letter to Sony Pictures in wake of the film’s censorship, noting the edits are “an insult to moviegoers in Turkey.” Turkish press agency Bianet posted the letter, in which the group slams Sony for their decision: “Seeing oneself as an authority to decide what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for a ‘local culture’ and imposing your view on that ‘culture’ is one of the greatest shows of disrespect for that ‘culture.'”
SİYAD is a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. Read the group’s official open letter below.
Self-Censoring ‘Blade Runner 2049’ for the Turkish Market is an Insult to Moviegoers in Turkey
We are outraged by your supplying a self-censored version of Blade Runner 2049 to Turkey and deeply offended by the attempt to legitimize it on the ground that it was done “to be respectful of local culture.” Seeing oneself as an authority to decide what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for a “local culture” and imposing your view on that “culture” is one of the greatest shows of disrespect for that “culture”. It is an insult to the people of Turkey and specifically to movie-goers in Turkey to assume them to be disturbed by any sign of nudity whatsoever.
While it is a fact that Turkey suffers from film censorship of its own (and we are opposed to national censorship as well), your position has been even more ludicrously narrow than the national film censorship we had to endure so far.
We demand an immediate apology and a rectification of the situation as soon as possible, as well as a non-repetition of similar situations, which one suspects may have happened in the past as well, in the future.
The Executive Board of SİYAD (Association of Film Critics of Turkey)