One of the most memorable moments of my 2005 TIFF experience was the Q&A after Perpetual Motion (Wu qiong dong). Director Ying Ning talked about her erotic chicken feet scene, which was placed in the center of a movie about four women who come together to ring in the New Year. The scene depicts the women devouring chicken feet in an almost pornographic fashion. Ning explained that Chinese laws are so strict that the scene was the only way she could add an erotic element to the film. The thought had never even occurred to me.
China has a strong hand in its film industry, and I am therefore not surprised to report that Warner Brothers International Cinemas is pulling out of China due to policy changes that have come into effect. In 2002, the media giant began to open cinemas across the country through a policy that allowed for 75% ownership in select cities. The new change in policy states that control must be given to Chinese partners. Negotiations were futile, so goodbye, WBIC.
This is sure to have an effect on Chinese cinema, as ticket sales increased 30% just in the last year, and WBIC has indeed improved the state of Chinese cinemas. While it is a bit of a blow to Warner Brothers, I have to give props for trying to protect its interests. In Canada, media influence is a continual debate, so I'd like to see China kick some cinema ass on its own. That being said, have they shot themselves in the foot?