By Keen Zhang
China.org.cn Arts & Entertainment editor
Sichuan, the home of the giant panda, will postpone the release of the Hollywood movie Kung Fu Panda for at least 5 days due to a new round of controversy. A performance artist accused the film of mining Chinese moviegoers' wallets after the major earthquake by stealing the Chinese panda and other cultural symbols.
Even though film directors John Stevenson and Mark Osborne have said that Kung Fu Panda is intended as a "love letter" and a tribute to Chinese kung fu and the country's culture, and the film has won widespread positive acclaim from premieres around China, Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu's five cinema chains released a joint statement last night announcing a postponement in the screening of the film.
"Due to the fact that some audiences are unaware of the content of the film Kung Fu Panda, which was supposed to hit nationwide screens, including Sichuan, on June 20, we have decided to postpone the release", they announced. "Later we hope to re-introduce the film and the cast to the public in Sichuan, to pave the way for the film's screening."
Sources said the film will be postponed for five days.
A performance artist claimed credit for this "success".
"In my artistic heart, I cannot accept the fact that Hollywood wants to make a fortune from the Chinese people after the huge earthquake in Sichuan," said Zhao Bandi in one of his blogs on Bokee.com. "It's an ugly bear. I wouldn't even dignify it with the name 'panda'."
Even though he hasn't actually seen the film, he is referring to the role (voiced by Jack Black) in the summer blockbuster Kung Fu Panda. Zhao announced to the waiting world that at this point in time he personally would find healing for his heart through silence, rather than be amused by the comedy cartoon. Presumably his "silence" will start after everyone in China has heard his views on the cartoon film.
Zhao, a 42-year-old "performance artist" and designer, has achieved minor fame through a number of art exhibitions at home and abroad. Ironically, he operates under the title "Panda Man" since many of his artworks themselves exploit the image of the panda.