Zhang Yimou's Cultural Revolution film pulled from Berlin festival

BERLIN (Reuters) - The Berlin Film Festival has canceled the world premiere of Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s new film, citing technical difficulties and declining to comment on speculation about censorship.

“One Second” is set during the chaos of China’s 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, a world away from Zhang’s Matt Damon-led fantasy “The Great Wall” or his Oscar-nominated period drama “Raise the Red Lantern”. It had been scheduled to close the festival on Friday.

Festival director Dieter Kosslick, who is retiring at the end of this edition after 18 years in the job, expressed his disappointment.

“It would have been for me personally a great thing, because I know him a very long time, to have the last film in the festival with him,” Kosslick said.

Asked whether the screening had been pulled due to censorship, he said: “I don’t know about this.

“I just know they said it was not ready because of technical reasons.”

In a statement, the festival said the film had been pulled because of “technical difficulties encountered during post-production,” and that “Hero”, Zhang’s 2002 historic blockbuster, would be screened instead.

Zhang, 68 one of China’s most prominent filmmakers, was the first Chinese director to win Berlin’s Golden Bear award in 1988, for “Red Sorghum”.

Reporting by Hanna Rantala, writing by Thomas Escritt, editing by Robin Pomeroy