Titanic 3D in China

Titanic in Chinese

I watched Titanic in 3D today in Zhuhai and was a little bit surprised- I actually shed a tear. Not because of the love story, but at the view of the Statue of Liberty near the end. (Sometimes the somewhat cheesy moments in Hollywood movies catch me at a sensitive moment.) But, its ok because most of the other (older) people in the theater  were crying too.

I went with my girlfriend, who clearly remembers watching the original Titanic in 1997, and was really looking forward to taking me to the show. While we were there she noticed something peculiar. There was no voice singing during My Heart Will Go On; it was just the score. I had to think about that for a minute and then I realized she was right. “Why did they take out the singing?” she asked in Chinese. I said I wasn’t sure, but it might have had something to do with the modern audience not really caring to hear an older song. “The song isn’t popular anymore” I told her. But maybe there was another reason. Who knows. But that wasn’t the only thing different about this Chinese re-release…

Censorship of the film actually caused more attention to grow around the scenes that were deleted. Although James Cameron said on Colbert Nation that the scenes were deleted because the authorities worried men would try to reach out and touch the screen; perhaps touching the head of others and disrupting their experience. Actually, Chinese tell me that since there is no rating system here, so the sexual content in the movie would be inappropriate for children. The point was to help parents protect their kids eyes, or so I was told.

What strikes me as odd is that scenes from Flowers of War were not censored… and as I wrote last January, that film has the ability to shock and awe. It was brutal in both sexual and violent ways. I couldn’t imagine a child seeing that movie, even with parents around. So, it still remains somewhat of a mystery as to why a little bit of flesh wasn’t allowed to be shown in Titanic 3D, but the bloody body of a woman being raped while strapped to a chair, then jabbed with a bayonet as penance for biting a soldier’s ear off… was acceptable.

These kinds of contradictions are not new, nor will they be the last (this week). It’s important to understand that what is said publicly in China is usually not what the speaker means in their heart. Speaking from the heart out loud is rare over here and if you aren’t prepared for this you will probably lose your mind quickly.

I remember seeing James Cameron’s face on the Colbert Report when he described the “reason” for deleted scenes. He had a very typical look on his face which was a mix of misunderstanding and disgust. And if he decides to move forward with co-producing Avatar 2 and 3 with a massive Chinese film company, he will certainly need to remember to keep his cool.

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