The 13th edition of mainland China’s longest-running LGBTI film festival opens with Birds in Mire by Zhang Wanlin
Fans of queer Asia cinema are in for a treat this weekend as the week-long Beijing queer film festival opens in China’s capital.
The festival, now known as Love Queer Cinema Week, returns for its 11th edition with the theme ‘no limits’.
‘It means that there are millions of possibilities in life. You can be anyone you want to be’ one of the organizers, Tania Qiao, told Gay Star News
‘We should respect this diversification’ Qiao said.
The festival features a number of feature-length and short movies from China, Asia and the rest of the world.
The week kicks off on Friday (2 November) with Chinese director Zhang Wanlin’ Birds of Mire. It depicts the romances of gay and straight working-class Chinese who don’t necessarily conform to society’s conventions.
The three-way drama depicts the struggles and frustrations of young people looking for freedom and love.
The Story of the Stone closes the film festival. Starr Wu’s adapts a classic Chinese novel to the gay bars of Taiwan’s capital. It is ‘the most famous love story in Chinese literary history reborn’, according to the film’s trailer.
What’s more, the festival will screen several short Chinese films. ‘They successfully resisted the pressure, innovated in type and creation approaches and used the image to retain the vivid characters’ Qiao told Gay Star News.
‘There was no exception that these films revealed the real life of the queer people, but also dived deep into the hearts of the characters, their social relations and emotional relations.
The festival will screen international movies including Hard Paint, which won the Teddy Award film of the Berlin International Film Festival. The festival will also screen Knife Heart, one of the official selection film of the Cannes Film Festival.
Censorship in China
LGBTI content is banned on film and TV in China. Although some films, such as Seek McCartney, manage to jump censors.
What’s more, in June last year, the government also banned gay content from appearing on the internet, labeling it abnormal.
‘The regulation brings huge harm not only to the LGBT community but also stops the public from getting an information and knowledge about LGBT issues’ said LGBTI rights activist, Yanzi Peng.
But, in April, a #IAMGAY viral protest was launched on China’s social media platform, Weibo, after it banned LGBTI content.
Finally, the website backtracked and continues to allow LGBTI content in a rare win for the community.
In May this year, Eurovision banned the airing of this year’s final in China after it censored several moments in the semi-final including, LGBTI content.
China legalized gay sex in 1997 and removed it from the list of mental illnesses in 2001. But, in a conservative and family-orientated society, many LGBTI Chinese live in the closet.
by Rik Glauert
Source – Gay Star News