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‘The Eight Hundred’ pulled at the last minute at the Shanghai Film Festival

War movie 'The Eight Hundred' by Hu Guan removed as an opening film by the Shanghai Film Festival

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The new film by Hu Guan, director of Mr Six, The Eight Hundred had been pulled at the last minute as opening screening at the Shanghai Film Festival.

Related articles: Interview with Augusta Xu-Holland, actress of The Eight Hundred; interview with Jia Zhangke

A similar incident had occurred in February when Zhang Yimou‘s One Second, set in the decade of the Cultural Revolution, had been removed at the last second by the Berlin festival.

Hu Guan’s film has been replaced by a screening of Midnight Cowboy.

The Eight Hundred tells the story of 800 Chinese soldiers during a siege in a warehouse in the middle of the Shanghai metropolitan battlefield, surrounded by Japanese troops.

According to some observers, the film, recounting the heroic deeds of a handful of KMT soldiers, the Chinese nationalist party, against the Japanese occupation forces, may have been incompatible with the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s victory against the KMT, an anniversary that will fall in October.

The Chinese censors have already taken steps to clean up the network from other issues deemed sensitive, such as the Tiananmen anniversary of June 4th.

Jia Zhangke, a prominent Chinese director, commented on social media after the incident: “The film industry cannot be run like this”.

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Another anonymous commentator, as reported by the Financial Times, added: “It’s a shot across the bow from the regulators”.

Last year the main regulator of Chinese cinema merged with the propaganda department of the ruling Communist Party, a move that several executives in the film industry have said have provoked a tightening of China’s already restrictive film censorship.

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