A Chinese film festival has pulled Oscar-winning Call Me By Your Name from its program.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, the film’s distributor, shared the news with Reuters that its film was taken off the roster of the Beijing International Film Festival. The film was set to play along other international films like Lean on Pete and The Square.
Unfortunately, there was no explanation as to why the film was taken off the showing list, including requests for the festival organizers and the country’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television to comment, but many believe its because of China’s unstable views on homosexuality.
Call Me By Your Name follows the budding romance between a 17-year-old Jewish-Italian boy and an archeology student in his mid-twenties.
“There is no clear policy on this issue, so we are always confused,” said Xin Ying, executive director of the Beijing LGBT Centre, to Reuters.
While homosexuality is not illegal in China, the country’s government is constantly shuffling its views and policy on gay representation in media and gay people, or allies, congregating in the open.
Last year, China censored gay content in the film Alien: Convenant, and stated strict limits on gay content found on the internet. In addition, Chinese officials shut down a gay rights conference before it could even get started, and police forced parents of gay people to leave a matchmaking event.
Meanwhile, the creator of the biggest gay dating app in the world, Blued, says that the government specifically approves of his business, and Beauty and the Beast’s “gay moment” went unedited in China.
All of that, plus this newest development of Call Me By Your Name being pulled from Beijing’s film festival just adds to the confusion of the country’s citizens.
Perhaps that will soon change as China’s government shifts under President Xi Jinping. Earlier this month, China’s Parliament voted to take away term limits for the President and allow him to rule indefinitely. In addition, control over film, news and publishing officially became the jurisdiction of the Communist Party’s publicity department.
But, with President Xi Jinping’s party being in true power, we’ll see if they will be supportive of LGBTQ people in China or make things worse for them.