'Moonlight' May Not Get Chinese Theatrical Release Because Of Gay Themes
China is notorious for its film censorship, most notably when it comes to films featuring gay protagonists or themes. So Moonlight may follow the same fate as movies such as Carol and Brokeback Mountain, which were not screened in China when they were theatrically released.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, China Film Group considers Moonlight “unsuitable for the China market and not politically correct.”
The Barry Jenkins-directed film was also expected to screen at the upcoming Beijing International Film Festival in April, but organizers have said that the selection is still unconfirmed.
A24, the company that financed, produced and is handling international sales on Moonlight, is working with a Chinese partner to try and get a theatrical release in China. But so far nothing has happened.
Although depicting gay relationships on TV is banned in China, there are no rules that explicitly state that such stories can be told in movies or online. Still, regulators can censor material whenever they feel necessary, and often times offer no explanation at all.
Regardless, Moonlight continues to be a commercial and critical success. And as for Jenkins, he is getting ready to work on his next project — writing and directing the Underground Railroad series for Amazon.
The one-hour drama series will be based on Colson Whitehead‘s best-selling novel Underground Railroad.
“Going back to The Intuitionist, Colson’s writing has always defied convention, and The Underground Railroad is no different,” Jenkins said to Variety. “It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way. Preserving the sweep and grandeur of a story like this requires bold, innovative thinking and in Amazon we’ve found a partner whose reverence for storytelling and freeness of form is wholly in line with our vision.”