Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain will not be screened on the Chinese mainland, a source from China Film Group, the only film importer on the mainland.
The source said it is due to its sensitive topic: gay love. Adapted from a short story by "The Shipping News" novelist E. Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain is about a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy (played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) who meet one summer in Wyoming and form a bond that spans 20 years. Some Western media critics call it an epic gay romance.
The film is rated "R" for "restricted" in the United States, which means that children under 17 are not admitted unless accompanied by parents or adult guardian. As the mainland has not adopted a movie rating system, the film could not possibly be approved by the film censors, said the source.
Since the government has an import quota of 20 foreign films a year, the China Film Group imports more commercial blockbusters than art-house movies like Brokeback Mountain, according to a staff member with Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Huaxia is one of the two distributors of foreign films on the mainland. "Although Brokeback Mountain won international acclaim, it does not mean its box office will be successful on the mainland," said the source.
(Shenzhen Daily March 9, 2006)