FILM / Rushes

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The Independent Culture
China has finally given the official seal of approval to Raise the Red Lantern, the Chinese movie that won a nomination at this year's Oscars for best foreign film. The newspaper Liberation Daily of Shanghai reported on Monday that Raise the Red Lantern is among movies to be released in the near future. The China Movie Distribution Co said it could appear in cinemas as early as next month.

Although the film, which was produced with funds from Taiwan, has been shown widely abroad, it has yet to be screened for the public in China. The State Film Bureau said earlier that it had asked the director, Zhang Yimou, to make changes. It was not clear if he did so to engineer the release. The government apparently objected to the movie because of its subtle message about authority and rebellion (the story is about a landowner who holds four concubines virtual prisoners). Liberation Daily, looking for an acceptable message in the movie, said it 'criticises feudalism'.

The director of the State Film Bureau, Teng Jinxian, said recently that the government planned to review and release other previously banned movies with small revisions. The announcement was taken as a sign that the new political mood of emphasising reform and openness was trickling into the strongly conservative cultural arena. But Teng's preview of movies being filmed this year shows a continued emphasis on China's revolutionary history and correct political values.

Forthcoming films include one about China's first president, Liu Shao-chi, before he was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution; one called Give All to the Party, about the children of revolutionary martyrs; and another about a model teacher.

The owner of London's Camden Parkway cinema has been served notice to quit the magnificent Art Deco premises by the middle of next week. The site's developers, Bernard Sunley & Sons, have submitted plans to replace the building with a seven-storey office-block (see Rushes passim). Although those plans may never come to fruition - a DOE Public Enquiry will be held on 8 September - Parkway's owner, Peter Walker, has been ordered out by 15 July. 'We were given reassurances some time ago that we would be here until the re-development,' he commented. 'The July deadline is well ahead even of the appeal. Why not let the people who enjoy the cinema enjoy it at least until the appeal is settled?'

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