China bans makers of steamy "Lost in Beijing"

BEIJING Fri Jan 4, 2008 9:19am IST

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's censors have banned the makers of "Lost in Beijing" from making movies on the mainland for the next two years, after an unapproved version of the film screened at the Berlin Film Festival.

China gave "Lost in Beijing", which features explicit sex scenes and shows the losers as well as winners in the country's booming economy, conditional approval to go to Berlin if director Li Yu cut 15 minutes dealing with rape and class conflict.

The makers agreed, but in the end said there was insufficient time to get the cut version ready for Berlin as well as provide English and German subtitles, and the original version was ultimately screened at the festival last February.

China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said in a statement seen on Friday that the producers violated regulations by submitting an unapproved version of the film to the 57th Berlin Film Festival.

The makers, co-production company Beijing Laurel Films and producer Fang Li, also illegally distributed unapproved and pornographic clips on the Internet, the statement said.

The film company would be barred from producing any new movies for the next two years and Fang banned from any involvement in the film industry for the same period.

"Producers, directors and actors involved in the making of the film must carry out serious self-criticism education and make deep self-examinations," the statement said.

Fang was also the producer for "Summer Palace" a romance set against the backdrop of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, whose director Lou Ye was banned from mainland movie-making for five years in 2006.

Lou did not clear the film with the state censors before going to the Cannes Film Festival, where it screened without official approval.

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