Epic film depicts turmoil of 20th century China

Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:49pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - An epic film recalling the turmoil and barbarity which swept China as it lurched from imperial to communist rule in the early 20th century was only possible because of greater artistic freedoms, its director said on Wednesday.

Wang Quan'an, whose three-hour "White Deer Plain" has its world premiere at the Berlin film festival, told reporters it had been submitted to the Chinese censors and some changes had been necessary.

And while he was not entirely satisfied with the outcome, it was better than not having the film made at all.

"For 20 years it was impossible and maybe even a taboo to make this kind of film," Wang told reporters after a press screening of the movie, based on a novel by Chen Zhongshi.

"So now we're moving forward, and had a pretty good environment in which to make this film," he added, speaking through an interpreter. "So it's a step forward."

That said, Wang, who won Berlin's Golden Bear best picture award in 2007 with "Tuya's Marriage," still had to submit his film to the censors.

"There was some intervention on the part of censorship, let's say 'corrections' were made," he said, adding that some alterations were "painful" and "sad."


Director Quan-An Wang addresses a news conference to present the film 'Tuya's Marriage' running in competition at the 57th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 10, 2007. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz