Skyfall cited as example of censorship in China

A new book about Hollywood’s dealings with China includes citing 2012’s Skyfall as an example of China censoring Western movies.

Red Carpet, Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy by Erich Schwartzel is scheduled to be published on Tuesday.

The author was interviewed on CNN on Sunday morning, U.S. time. During the interview, Schwartzel said a James Bond film cut out a scene of Bond killing a Chinese security guard because the Chinese government believed it made the Chinese look weak.

Schwartzel didn’t identify the movie on CNN. But a Feb. 1 review of the book in The New York Times said it was Skyfall.

But China is not a democracy, and its economic leverage over Hollywood allows its leaders to subject American movies to an unprecedented process of ideological filtration. In the movies approved by China’s censors you will find no mention of an afterlife, no time travel and no masturbation. (There’s a great joke in there somewhere.) “Underdog narratives” — little guy takes on the system — are a problem. Hollywood stars on promotional visits have to follow the rules (don’t mention Tibet or Taiwan) and negative images of China are to be expunged. “Red Carpet” itemizes the removal of clotheslines in a Shanghai street scene from “Mission: Impossible III” (drying underwear too retrograde); the rewriting of “World War Z” to clarify that the apocalyptic zombie virus did not actually originate, as previously thought, in China; the cutting of a scene in “Skyfall” in which James Bond Bondishly offs a Chinese security guard (makes Chinese people look weak); and — most spectacularly — in a remake of “Red Dawn,” the postproduction pixel-by-pixel transformation of an entire invading Chinese army into an army from North Korea. (“The flags are one nightmare unto themselves,” a weary special-effects wizard tells Schwartzel, “and then there are all these subnightmares.”) (emphasis added)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: