updated - June 20, 2013 Thursday EDT
By Zanub Saeed
The Chinese government decided to cut down the run time for Columbia Pictures and Amblin Entertainment's release of "Men in Black 3," which was released this Memorial Day weekend around the globe, due to its apparent unflattering viewpoints of the Chinese people featured in the movie.
In a new report from UK publication The Telegraph, censors in the Chinese national city of Beijing removed 13 minutes of footage from the third installment in the Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones- starring film franchise, as they made Chinese Americans looked bad. The censorship is not the first from China, as it had previously deleted scenes from theatrical releases of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," that appeared offensive.
"Unless there is a flattering image of Chinese people, you are going to run into a challenge from the State Administration of Film, Television and Radio (SARFT)," Robert Cain, a partner in Pacific Bridge Pictures, which specializes in Chinese productions, told The Telegraph.
"The list of taboos is so long it is very often too difficult to make anything entertaining," he added. "I had a friend submit a script and the censors asked him to change the name of one of the characters. He could not understand why so he asked them and they said it was the pet name that Deng Xiaoping (China's former paramount leader) used for his granddaughter."
Scenes cut out from "Men in Black 3" include a shot of Will Smith's character erasing the memories of a group of bystanders, said the British newspaper, and a couple of scenes where extraterrestrials disguised themselves as Chinese workers. They were removed as they put the Chinese people in a bad light, it was argued by the publication.
"We are still in transition from propaganda to entertainment," Dan Mintz, the head of DMG, told The Telegraph.
"When you get to the level of making a thought-provoking film, you would be surprised at how much the State Administration of Film, Television and Radio (SARFT) is not a problem. You have lots of other problems: actors, executives, and so on," he said.
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