Film directors defend Beijing roles

Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:43am EST
 
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By Nick Mulvenney

BEIJING (Reuters) - A trio of directors defended their participation in a film project about preparations for the Beijing Olympics on Saturday, 11 days after Steven Spielberg quit as an adviser to the Games because of China's Darfur policy.

Iranian Oscar nominee Majid Majidi, popular Hong Kong director Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, and Briton Daryl Goodrich, who made an influential film for the London bid to host the 2012 Games, were in the Chinese capital for the premiere of the "Vision Beijing" project.

Oscar winner Spielberg withdrew from his position as an adviser to the opening and closing ceremonies of the August 8-24 Games on February 12 because of China's policy on the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan.

"I was shocked and surprised that Steven stepped back from his work with the Beijing Olympics," Lau, whose film "Infernal Affairs" was recently remade by Hollywood as "The Departed," told a news conference.

"It's clear that the Olympics is all about sport and nothing to do with politics."

Majidi, whose 1998 film "Children of Heaven" was nominated for the Academy award for Best Foreign Language film, said he had no opinion about Spielberg's withdrawal.

"People differ in their views," he said. "Some people make decisions because of their own reasons.

"I believe that art should have nothing to do with politics. On the contrary, art may be undermined if it is connected with something like this."   Continued...

 
<p>In this file photo film director Steven Spielberg speaks on stage at the Women in Film 2007 Crystal and Lucy Awards in Beverly Hills, California June 14, 2007. A trio of directors defended their participation in a film project about preparations for the Beijing Olympics on Saturday, 11 days after Spielberg quit as an adviser to the Games because of China's Darfur policy. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>