Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski‘s Cloud Atlas runs 172 minutes, interweaving six stories spanning over 400 years, beginning in 1849 and moving beyond 2250 and if you snip 40 minutes out of it does it make it better or worse? According to Lana, “It sucks,” the director told China.org.cn, though she does offer an alternative adding, “But I believe you can watch the full version online.”
Tykwer told SCMP, “Although the mainland version is a bit constrained, [we] fully believe in the regulator’s editing standards.”
Of the approximately 40 minutes that will be cut from Cloud Atlas by China’s censors, SCMP reports deleted segments were primarily comprised of love scenes, gory sequences and nudity. A number of same-sex love scenes between actors Ben Whishaw and James D’Arcy were also cut from the film due to the SARFT‘s strict ban on homosexual content.
The move comes shortly after Skyfall, the latest James Bond film was edited for Chinese theaters. SCMP notes some of Skyfall‘s changes as follows:
Among the Skyfall scenes censors deleted was one in which a French hitman kills a Chinese security guard in a Shanghai skyscraper.
A scene depicting prostitution in Macau was also cut, as was a line spoken by Bond’s nemesis mentioning that Chinese security agents had tortured him.
Furthermore, in a scene where Bond asks a mysterious woman whether she has been a prostitute since the age of 12 or 13, censors decided to keep the audio but alter the Chinese subtitles to indicate that Bond asked her whether she had become a triad member at that age.
Qiu Huashun, head of the Chinese distribution arm Dreams of the Dragon Pictures, told China.org.cn, “In the case of such visual effect blockbusters like Cloud Atlas, audiences know they have to come to cinemas to fully enjoy them, but pirating still remains a big problem. We invested so much money, there are so many artists involved and we spent so much energy to create it. All has been stolen. The fact that Cloud Atlas cannot be screened at the same time as in other places in the world, has so many complicated reasons. But if we are going to do another movie like this, we must screen it in China at the same time as in other nations.”
Cloud Atlas hits Chinese theaters on January 31. Despite the cuts, the directors are in Beijing promoting the film’s release.