Timely Topics

'Cloud Atlas' Cut By 40 Minutes in China

'Skyfall' recently suffered similar cuts

Cloud Atlas Chinese PosterTom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski's Cloud Atlas runs 172 minutes, interweaving six stories spanning over 400 years, beginning in 1849 and moving beyond 2250 and if you snip 40 minutes out of it does it make it better or worse? According to Lana, "It sucks," the director told China.org.cn, though she does offer an alternative adding, "But I believe you can watch the full version online."

Tykwer told SCMP, "Although the mainland version is a bit constrained, [we] fully believe in the regulator's editing standards."

Of the approximately 40 minutes that will be cut from Cloud Atlas by China's censors, SCMP reports deleted segments were primarily comprised of love scenes, gory sequences and nudity. A number of same-sex love scenes between actors Ben Whishaw and James D'Arcy were also cut from the film due to the SARFT's strict ban on homosexual content.

The move comes shortly after Skyfall, the latest James Bond film was edited for Chinese theaters. SCMP notes some of Skyfall's changes as follows:

Among the Skyfall scenes censors deleted was one in which a French hitman kills a Chinese security guard in a Shanghai skyscraper.

A scene depicting prostitution in Macau was also cut, as was a line spoken by Bond's nemesis mentioning that Chinese security agents had tortured him.

Furthermore, in a scene where Bond asks a mysterious woman whether she has been a prostitute since the age of 12 or 13, censors decided to keep the audio but alter the Chinese subtitles to indicate that Bond asked her whether she had become a triad member at that age.

Qiu Huashun, head of the Chinese distribution arm Dreams of the Dragon Pictures, told China.org.cn, "In the case of such visual effect blockbusters like Cloud Atlas, audiences know they have to come to cinemas to fully enjoy them, but pirating still remains a big problem. We invested so much money, there are so many artists involved and we spent so much energy to create it. All has been stolen. The fact that Cloud Atlas cannot be screened at the same time as in other places in the world, has so many complicated reasons. But if we are going to do another movie like this, we must screen it in China at the same time as in other nations."

Cloud Atlas hits Chinese theaters on January 31. Despite the cuts, the directors are in Beijing promoting the film's release.

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  • http://cineenuruguay.blogspot.com/ Driver

    Come on, 40 minutes? That's entirely another film at that point.

  • tom

    they should cut the whole movie for racism.

    • Alex

      Oh please.

    • Marcus

      It's people like you that keep racism alive.....this movie is about anything but racism.....it's about the journey of the soul. What we do in one life, every choice and action, will determine our next. It doesn't matter if we are white, black, asian, etc. The movie had every race playing other races and their own. Caucasian's playing asian, Asian's playing Caucasians, African American's playing Caucasians, etc. This movie was showing how our actions transcends race, and had nothing to do with racism.

  • John Doe Snow

    I just hope it makes money... :\

  • adu

    China makes me sad.

  • Jake17

    That may have made the movie better if they had actually cut the right parts, but it doesn't sound like they did.

  • The Jackal

    God forbid the Chinese see two men kiss. 40 minutes? Jesus. So glad I don't live in China. As a dedicated cinephile, I don't think I could take it. Fuck censorship!

    Thems the facts

    • adu

      Hear hear!

    • dslacker

      I'm thinking we do suffer censorship in the US. The MPAA 'encourages' directors and studios to cut scenes in order to get certain ratings. Films that wind up NC-17 are usually denied any significant distribution no matter how good they are. Many media outlets refuse to advertise those films and some stores refuse to sell those DVD's. We don't have government censorship (yet), but corporate censorship isn't much better. And how many first world countries would go into months long tizzy over the brief display of a nipple during a halftime show ?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fan/ Fan

    That's funny China also cutted the entire scenes with Chow Yun-Fat from the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End when it came out as well...

  • me

    I heard that the Dalai Lamas film "My struggle for an indepedent Tibet" didnt do to well at the censors either.

  • Badge

    I've been living in China/Japan for over ten years now, and am pretty used to the whole Western media beat-ups of "oh my god China is a dictatorship that suppresses everything" (it's primarily anything anti-government that gets pushed out of the public eye). As for CLOUD ATLAS, I've already bought my copy because the DVD and Blu-ray have been available in the shops here for a couple of weeks now, and it's only the cinema presentation that's been cut (though my local cinema is listing the running time at 172 mins).

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/IcicleM/ IcicleM

      Then what's the point of them censoring things when they sell the real, full version of the movie on the streets and shops?

      • Badge

        Good question - I've been in Asia a decade and I still can't figure out half of the stuff that's going on here! Amazingly, just about any movie that's banned in other countries around the world can be bought here - but not some films that are otherwise "tame" because of the anti-govt content (e.g. "Red Corner", "Kundun")!

        Also, the length of CLOUD ATLAS was probably a strike against it, especially as it wasn't a blockbuster - 3-hour movies don't get as many screenings/revenue as 2 1/2 hour ones. Similar to Western cinema practices long ago when foreign films were chopped down for import.