For all the plights of North American filmmakers, there's always someone, somewhere who has it worse, and it's usually directors in China. Chinese laws are quite strict, which often leads filmmakers to be incredibly creative in showing certain themes -- especially sex, as I briefly discussed in November. Director Li Yu is the latest casualty of strict Chinese censors. Her film, Lost in Beijing, was to compete at the Berlin International Film Festival this month, but her country has banned her from bringing the film to the fest. The film involves a relationship between the boss of a Beijing massage parlor (Tony Leung) and his female worker (Fan Bingbing).

According to Producer Fang Li, the ban states: "According to current regulations, your film needs further modifications and therefore is not allowed to go for the 57th Berlinale." This is, obviously, a huge blow to the film, as the festival begins in a week. He's also quoted as saying that Li Yu "is not in a mood to do anything." I'm not surprised! While the censors are open to further editing by the filmmaker, Fang has asserted that to do so would destroy the film. They plan to lobby the Film Bureau as long as they can, before deciding whether they want to ignore the ruling and attend the festival anyway. Fang also produced Lou Ye's Summer Palace last year, which was brought to Cannes without China's approval -- and ultimately led to the director being banned from filmmaking in China for the next 5 years. Hopefully Li Yu won't have the same fate.