Chinese director Lou Ye braves ban risk at Cannes

Thu May 14, 2009 10:59am EDT
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By James Mackenzie

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Chinese director Lou Ye brushed off fears he may face problems with the authorities when he returns home after showing his new film "Spring Fever" at the Cannes film festival.

The film, a graphic drama that deals with the taboo subject of homosexuality, was shot in secret after officials slapped a five-year banning order on Lou preventing him from making films following his last feature "Summer Palace."

That film, shown in Cannes in 2006, examined the protest movement that led to the brutal repression in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and earned Lou international acclaim as well as ostracism from the official world of Chinese cinema.

But speaking on Thursday after the press screening of "Spring Fever," he played down the furor that has surrounded both the film's subject matter and his problems with the powerful Chinese Film Office.

"I hope I'm the last director to be banned in China," he said in response to one of a series of questions about the banning order, the latest in a string of run-ins with authorities going back to earlier films like "Suzhou River," which was also shot in secret.

"I hope, nothing will happen when I get back to China. I am just a director making a film," he said. "'Don't be afraid of the cinema,' that's what I say to myself.

"But I don't think anything will happen. I don't think there will be any fallout. But in any case, I don't think about the future, I only think about the present," he said.

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<p>Director Lou Ye poses during a photocall for his film "Chun Feng Chen Zui De Ye Wan" (Spring Fever), at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 14, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard</p>