Russian censors cut tender gay scene from Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth romance Supernova
Reports state that Russian distributors have “self-censored” the film, a tender depiction of a gay couple coming to terms with one of them having early-onset dementia.
Viewers of the censored version in Russia said at “least one scene where the characters try to have sex after a dramatic dialogue has disappeared from the story”, according to a report by The Moscow Times.
“Several viewers of the stripped-down version confirmed that it’s clear from the context even after self-censorship that the characters are a couple,” it added.
Film critic Konstantin Kropotkin says he was told by World Pictures, Supernova‘s Russian distributor, that the film was censored out of fears that cinemas would not show it and that its premiere would be mired in “excesses”.
Kropotkin also said, in a message on Telegram, that distributors “are forbidden even to use the word ‘gay’ in relation to the film – even though we are talking exclusively about gay family”.
However, The Moscow Times reported that a review of the film published on Wednesday (10 March) said the self-censorship “made this love story even more poignant and delicate”.
“Now, the ‘Russian’ version of Supernova even more clearly shows the huge social gap between us and the conventional West,” it added.
Supernova stars Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as gay partners of 20 years on a road trip through England.
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As they journey north, it’s revealed that Tucci‘s character has been diagnosed with dementia, with the film exploring their grief.
This isn’t the first time Russia has tried to censor LGBT+ characters and stories.
Russian distributors censored Onward‘s queer character, which would have been the first LGBT+ character in a movie by Disney and Pixar. The animated movie introduced a cyclops cop named Specter, voiced by Lena Waithe, who is a lesbian.
Russian audiences reportedly saw an altered scene that discloses Specter’s sexuality.
In the original film, the character says: “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out.” But the Russian version changed “girlfriend” to “partner”, which effectively erased the sexuality of Specter.
Scenes involving same-sex relations in Elton John biopic Rocketman were also removed for Russian audiences.