Oscar-winning Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody will reportedly be shown in China, in a censored release.
Portrayals of drug use will also reportedly be censored when the film is released in mid-March, just weeks after it won four Oscars, including a best actor award for Malek.
Bohemian Rhapsody success may lead to wider China release
The film’s limited release is down to the National Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas, which is partly funded by the state-supported China Film Archive.
And if audiences come to see Bohemian Rhapsody in large enough numbers, other cinemas may pick it up for wider release.
China has censored gay content from films before Bohemian Rhapsody
China has a history of cutting queer scenes from films.
In 2017, authorities in the country removed a gay kiss between two characters played by Michael Fassbender from Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant.
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Iconic gay love story Brokeback Mountain was banned entirely in 2006.
Bohemian Rhapsody news comes after Rami Malek’s Oscar speech is censored in China
A Chinese broadcast of Malek’s Oscar speech has been criticised this week for translating “gay man” to “special group” in its subtitles.
The misinterpretation was posted online to mgtv.com—who are linked to popular Chinese broadcaster Hunan TV—on Monday (February 25).
“What are you afraid of?”
— A Sina Weibo user about the censoring of Rami Malek’s Oscar speech
While collecting his best actor Oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody, Malek said: “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself.”
But the website translated “gay man” into “special group,” sparking outrage on Chinese social platform Sina Weibo.
One user asked the site: “What are you afraid of?”
This was not the first time that mgtv.com has been accused of straight-washing.
In May 2018, the company was stripped of its right to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest after it removed a song that described a gay relationship and blurred rainbow flags in the crowd.