Hollywood craves the mighty revenue potential from Chinese movie goers, so many of its denizens look the other way when the country’s government censors its art.
Money trumps artistic integrity.
A filmmaker best known for eviscerating America on a regular basis broke that new tradition, and he did it on Chinese soil.
Director Oliver Stone blasted Chinese censorship during an appearance at the Beijing Film Festival this week. America may have plenty of issues for the far-left director, but at least he could shoot political projects like W., Nixon and JFK without government interference.
That hardly is the case in China, and Stone says the country’s film industry won’t evolve until the creative shackles are dropped.
Mao Tse-tung has been lionized in dozens of Chinese films but never criticized. It’s about time,” Stone said during a high-profile panel discussion on Sino-foreign movie cooperation opportunities, drawing hoots and applause from the audience and making Chinese officials squirm.
“You’ve got to make a movie about Mao. You’ve got to make a movie about the Cultural Revolution. When you do that, you open up, you stir the waters and allow true creativity to emerge in this country. And then, that will the basis of real co-productions. Open up your past, the way the United States has opened up its past.
Stone spoke from experience. He said he’s tried repeatedly to make movies in China but each time had to retreat as censors stepped in.
Six years ago, Stone said he tried again to make a movie in China, as Beijing was getting ready to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. He wanted, he said, to do a documentary on Chinese faces. He and a small crew went around Beijing and gathered photographs of about 200 faces of different people.
“The idea was these are the faces we want to shoot,” Stone recalled. “Chinese officials came in, they looked at faces, they were concerned, they were worried.