Feng Xiaogang’s ‘I Am Not Madame Bovary’ Defies Chinese Censorship |

Originally slated for release on September 30th, Feng Xiaogang’s dark comedy will finally hit theaters on November 18th.

I am not Madame Bovary (我不是潘金莲), who is highly regarded by Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, has already passed China’s film censorship board with some cuts and hit the screens November 18.

The dark film about Fan Bingbing, which was praised for its “great expression of the Kafkaesque struggle of women in her take on the Chinese legal system” at the Toronto International Film Festival, had its Kafkaesque journey. own financial protection in China.

The film was originally slated to release on September 30 but was mysteriously rescheduled at the last minute. Rumors swirled, even in the national media, that the film had not received approval.

In the comedy, A-list star Fan Bingbing plays a cafe owner who gets caught up in the bureaucratic maze of the Chinese legal system after being cheated on by her ex-husband.

Citing an unnamed sales representative for the film, local film news site Mtime said the film passed the censorship board until the end of October, contrary to reports that it was approved in first.

The same marketing director would not be drawn on the specific changes made in the film but revealed that it has been cut by adding “there is no major difference”. [to the film] in comments to Mtime.

A straight run time for the film – it can be compared to its first length in the versions recorded in many award ceremonies of foreign countries.

In September, the film took top honors at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, taking home the top Golden Shell award and the best drama gong for Fan’s performance. It was on the heels of winning the International Federation of Film Critics award in Toronto.

The film features a visual departure from Feng’s usual commercial fare, using a perfect circle frame for some scenes, and his casting of the glamourous Fan as a badass farmer lead. .

Changing the release date at the last minute not only cost millions of RMB worth of wasted marketing efforts, it also destroyed the film’s hopes of being able to run on the looks like a Chinese foreign language Oscar contender this year.

After the release date was changed, Feng took to popular messaging app WeChat to say the change was to avoid competition during the busy September-early October season.

“We’ll move the film every time it gets too cold [least competitive]”the director said a lot on WeChat – a statement that was questioned at the time because of the marketing campaign – including ads in parking lots and cinemas – had already started.

Feng’s argument, which industry watchers didn’t think much of at the time, is less likely now that executives have opened the floodgates for several high-profile Hollywood films in November.

Since those earlier ambiguous statements, Feng has been more precise in his statements about the change in the release schedule, denying that it has anything to do with the censorship board.

“There are too many movies scheduled to be released during national holidays,” Feng said. “The film board discussed with everyone and asked if the dates could be spread a little. Who doesn’t want to leave a little? We said that we will move every time.”

Ang Lee Billy Lynn’s Long Walk (比利·林恩的中场战事), co-produced by Bona Film Company and China’s Studio 8, opens a week before Bovary in China at November 11.

Avoid deep water (深海浩劫), Lionsgate’s horror drama, is a last-minute addition to the fall release schedule, coming out on Tuesday, November 15three days earlier Bovary’s release.

Right away, Harry Potter spinoff Best pets and where to find them (神好动物在线) will be reviewed a week later. November 25, after his day and day with North America it was released November 18 – a day to put head to head Bovary.

– New reports by Qingyuan Wang.

For the author Fergus Ryan has worked in media, communications and marketing roles in China and Australia for nearly a decade. Most recently, Fergus was a reporter for News Corp. China Spectator and The Australian. He has been published in The Guardian and Foreign Policy. Prior to that, Fergus worked in business development for A-list star Li Bingbing at Huayi Brothers, and in celebrity engagement and social media for the WWF and DMG Entertainment.

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