Quentin Tarantino Won’t Recut “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” For China

Issues may arise from film’s depiction of Bruce Lee

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino and the stars of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
Saveleva a/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / October 20, 2019 12:18 pm

Director Quentin Tarantino has had a mixed experience finding audiences for his work in China. Most prominently, he recut his film Django Unchained to excise some of its more violence scenes; nonetheless, the film never quite found its way to massive audiences there.

Tarantino recently announced that he would not make any alterations to his latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, for the Chinese market. Variety’s report breaks down the issues at hand:

…Tarantino has final cut on the film, so any alterations have to meet with his approval. Chinese authorities didn’t tell Sony what scenes were objectionable, but an exhibitor source said the movie’s Oct. 25 release was “put on hold” after Shannon Lee, the daughter of Bruce Lee, filed a complaint to China’s National Film Administration. She objected to the onscreen depiction of her late father as an arrogant and boastful man who struggles to defeat Pitt’s characters in a fight.

The Hollywood Reporter also cited Shannon Lee’s issues with the film as being at the root of its release issues. The depiction of the elder Lee in the film has resulted in heated discussion around the globe. After the film’s release in the United States, Walter Chaw wrote about the complexities of its portrayal of Lee, and how Lee’s role on screen led to very disparate audience reactions.

“But for me, if only me, watching this attempt to reconfigure a god as a man is as emotional a moment as any in the film,” Chaw wrote — suggesting just how subjective perceptions of the film’s take on Lee can be. It’s a thoughtful look at one element of a sprawling film — one which, unless things change, will likely not be seen in the most populous nation on the planet. 

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