Oddly Enough

Censors sued for cut steamy sex scenes

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese moviegoer is suing China’s film watchdog in frustration with the censored version of Ang Lee’s steamy World War Two drama “Lust, Caution,” Beijing media reported Wednesday.

The Golden Lion award-winning film opened in China last month minus much of the on-screen sex and other scenes that Taiwan-born director Lee cut himself at the behest of local censors.

Dong Yanbin, a Ph.D student at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, had filed a suit against the nation’s film censor, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT), for infringing upon his “consumer rights,” the Beijing Times said.

“I felt greatly disappointed after seeing the movie,” the paper quoted Dong as saying.

“Compared to Eileen Chang’s original, the incomplete structure of ‘Lust, Caution’ and fragmented portrayal of the female lead’s psyche makes it hard for the audience to appreciate the movie’s art,” Dong said.

Dong was seeking apologies and 500 yuan ($67) in “psychological damages” from both SARFT and UME, the cinema chain showing the movie, the paper said.

The court had yet to accept the case, it added.

UME had violated the audience’s “fair trade rights,” while SARFT had infringed upon “society’s public interest” by failing to implement a rating system that would allow adults to see the film, it quoted Dong as saying.

“Lust, Caution” is open to children and adults alike in China, where academics and film-goers have been calling on authorities to implement a rating system for several years.

Despite the cuts, the movie has proved popular in China, reaping 90 million yuan ($12 million) in its first two weeks and being tipped by some to be the year’s biggest box office success.

But some filmgoers in the southern province of Guangdong have opted to cross the border into Hong Kong to watch the full, uncut version, local media have reported.