The Beijing International Film Festival has dropped Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar-winning gay romance Call Me By Your Name from its official line-up, Reuters reported. Sony Pictures Entertainment, the film’s distributors, informed the publication about the film festival’s decision but refused to comment on the reason behind it.
“It was pulled after the screening proposal submitted was not approved by regulators, a person with knowledge of the matter said,” added the report. Call Me By Your Name (2017) , which won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, is about the relationship between 17-year old Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and his father’s 24-year-old American student Oliver (Arnie Hammer). The film was scheduled to be screened at the festival on March 16 along with such films as Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete (2017) and Ruben Ostlund’s The Square (2017).
The Reuters report argued that the decision could have something to do with China’s stance on homosexuality, and drew a parallel with other instances when events based on the theme of homosexuality have been cancelled or shut down. “Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but activists say conservative attitudes in some sections of society have led to occasional government clamp-downs,” explained the report. “In July last year, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) conference in the western city of Chengdu was called off after the venue canceled the booking citing conflicting events. Lesbian dating app Rela was also shut down last May.”
China has also recently tightened its grip on media content, the publication said. “Parliament this month voted to scrap term limits for President Xi Jinping and hand control over film, news and publishing to the Communist Party’s publicity department,” added the report.
However, films with gay themes have not always been banned in China, it added.
“This movie is in deviation from the policy environment in China,” said Wu Jian, a Beijing-based film analyst.