TIARA SALVABILLA WRITES – Not much of a surprise, the popular LGBT movie “Call Me by Your name” was banned in China. Although the Oscar-winning movie with a cult-following has top ratings on IMDB, RottenTomatoes, and other movie review websites, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has chosen not to show the movie in their film festivals and cinemas. The film was supposed to have its screening at the Beijing International Film Festival, but was taken off the list, even though homosexuality is not illegal in China. Reuters was the first to claim that it was pulled of the film festival, which will run from April 16-23.
However, the censorship of LGBT movies is not just an issue in China. Many other Asian countries, whether secular or religious, still have a stigma towards anything related to LGBT issues. “Homosexuality was illegal in China until 1997, thought of as a mental illness until 2001, and is still considered ‘abnormal sexual relations or behavior’ by state media watchdogs. While homosexuality is not illegal in China, the country’s government is constantly shuffling its views and policy on gay representation in media and gay people, or allies, congregating in the open.” Many believe it’s because of China’s unstable views on homosexuality. Last year, an LGBT conference in China was stopped before it even began. However, some same-sex dating apps, such as Blued, are permitted in China. This confuses citizens because it is unclear how the government feels about LGBT and its presence in the media.
Ever since the Communist Party’s propaganda department took control over film, news and publishing earlier this month, along with this recent ban, fans have expressed their outrage at the decision, and have reminded the government that “it is 2018,” and that others have pointed out that no film with an openly gay protagonist has been screened in China.
Aside from the issue stated above, “Call Me By Your Name” tells the love story of a Jewish-Italian teenager and a 20-something archaeology student. Set in the background of an Italian summer in the 1980s, it stars Timothée Chalamet as Elio and Armie Hammer as Oliver. The film by Luca Guadagnino is based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman.