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Practice tai chi? Then you can handle China censors: Jia Zhangke

AFP | Tuesday, May 20, 2014

CANNES - Dealing with Beijing's censors is much like practising tai chi martial arts, acclaimed Chinese director Jia Zhangke said as he revealed his latest movie project to be shot in his hometown... and Australia.

In an interview with AFP, Jia, who is on the jury of this year's Cannes Film Festival, spoke candidly about his difficult relationship with censors in a country where his last critically-acclaimed movie "A Touch of Sin" has yet to come out.

Speaking late Monday, Jia said he kept in regular touch with authorities to give any future project of his a chance of coming out in China.

"It's not cooperation, it's a form of contact," he said.

"You know tai chi? Only when you come in contact with your opponent can he or she feel your strength," he added, referring to the martial art whose adepts often stand on street corners in China, making slow, controlled movements.

"No director can give up the right and opportunity to show their film in their country. I have to spend a lot of time and patience to keep talking with them."

Jia travels to future

Authorities in China maintain a tight grip on political speech and frequently block or delay the release of films deemed to touch on sensitive issues.

Despite his best efforts, Jia failed to convince them to screen "A Touch of Sin", a bold movie that portrays China in the throes of brutal change - a damaged society where corrupt officials, petty criminals and greedy bosses from Hong Kong and Taiwan hold sway.

The script for the film - in the running for Cannes' top Palme d'Or prize last year - had initially been approved in Beijing, and Jia was hoping to bring the movie out in November.

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