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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

Titanic recut

By Raymond Zhou (China Daily)

12:56, April 16, 2012

A young couple from Taiyuan, Shanxi province, wait in a line to buy tickets for the premiere of the 3D version of Titanic on April 10. (Hu Yuanjia / For China Daily)

In lieu of a ratings system, reasons subject to speculation and sarcasm underpin the cutting of a few frames from the new release of Titanic.

When Hollywood blockbuster Titanic was released in China 14 years ago, it was shown in its entirety. And when the unsinkable movie about a sinkable ship rolled around this time, two spots were deemed too steamy for the film-going public: Rose posing nude for Jack and the two making out in a vintage car.

So, they were trimmed.

The scenes are so familiar to many Chinese that the cuts became conspicuous by their absence and there was a collective roar of booing at the midnight premiere of the 3D version, according to press reports.

Since the two versions of James Cameron's disaster-cum-epic love story are identical, the newly conservative approach speaks more about the recipients rather than the makers of the film. But are Chinese people in general more puritanical than 14 years ago?

I seriously doubt anyone with a modicum of knowledge about the Middle Kingdom would say yes. In 1998, when the movie entered China, only a handful of people had access to the Internet. Sure, pornography had already infiltrated into the vast land via videotapes, but those were so blurry after repeated copying they were almost unwatchable.

It was the Internet, especially the wild-West mentality of the early years, which opened up most of my countrymen to the graphic depiction of the birds and bees, so to speak.

Most people I've talked to agreed that the nude scene and the sex scene in the movie are acceptable because they are mild and not gratuitous.

I can only surmise that censors are more inflexible than the general public.

Now, the Chinese population as a whole is truly more traditional than a Western country. What is taken for granted in North America, for example, may be a display of immodesty here in China. But China, in the past century, has undergone immense transformation in social mores.

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