A movie director is rejecting calls that he rework his latest film to appease China.
Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” was scheduled to open in China on Friday, but was pulled off the market by Chinese officials, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Although no official reason was given, The Hollywood Reporter has separately reported that it had been told by sources “close to Beijing-based Bona Film Group, which is one of the investors in the film, and China’s Film Bureau” that Shannon Lee, the daughter of the late actor Bruce Lee, appealed to China’s National Film Administration to block the film.
The report speculated that Shannon Lee was unhappy with the film’s portrayal of her father.
Bruce Lee’s daughter conspiring with the Chinese government to censor Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie was not a plot twist I saw coming! https://t.co/apAYY1KapL
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) October 18, 2019
Despite China’s decision, which means the lucrative Chinese market is closed to the film, Tarantino is not planning to re-edit the movie, which is set in Los Angeles prior to the Manson family murders in 1969.
That drew an unusual bit of praise from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the crassly liberal movie maker.
I applaud Quentin Tarantino’s refusal to recut his film to appease China’s censorship. Unalienable rights such as free speech should not be for sale. https://t.co/7XjNZ8QRe6
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 19, 2019
Although the Chinese market may be closed to the film, it has already earned $366 million.
Coming at a time when the NBA and China are in a duel spawned by a tweet supporting pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters, China’s actions are seen through the lens of its desire to control not just its own people, but others as well.
In that context, Washington Post contributor Sonny Bunch penned a commentary piece in The Washington Post saying that by refusing to kowtow to China, Tarantino has shown “how to take a stand against authoritarian repression.”
“Tarantino’s refusal to revisit his film for the censors should shame not only those who would sell out Hong Kong protesters and imprisoned Uighurs so they can sell a few more sneakers and a few more movie tickets,” Bunch wrote.
“It should also give pause to all who would denounce an artist for pursuing a vision that defies the bounds of political correctness. We’re often told that pursuing political correctness isn’t censorship — it’s just politeness. Apparently, that’s not always the case,” Bunch wrote.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has said that the NBA-China battle goes deeper than one tweet.
“You have to recognize that one of the lessons of the National Basketball Association fight was that these are people who are very prepared to apply enormous blackmail to get what they want,” Gringrich said on Fox Nation’s “Deep Dive,” according to Fox News. “We’re just not prepared to deal with these people.”
“Just as with the NBA, you now have an increasing Chinese willingness to dictate in the United States what people are going to be allowed to see,” said Gingrich
“We have not come to grips yet,” he said. “There are going to be wrenching changes, frankly. Defeating Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan was pretty wrenching. Defeating the Soviet Empire took basically from 1946 to 1991… we actually need an ‘all of society’ approach.”
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