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Censorship in China - Part 2: Better Days

Derek Tsang's Youth Drama With Popular Superstars Disappears

Derek Kwok-cheung Tsang’s Better Days is a Hongkong/China co-production and was supposed to have its world premiere at the Berlinale 2019, but was suddenly withdrawn from the schedule. There was no explanation, but various sources say that the film lacked the permission of the Chinese censors.

Better Days is based on the online novel "Young and Beautiful" and deals with mobbing and the pressure on young people to perform when it comes to passing the university entrance exams.

Since 2017, the censorship agency has been under the control of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China, which aims to ensure harmony among the civilian population. Bullying and pressure to perform are not very harmonious. Many filmmakers criticized that it has become much more difficult to get films through censorship, as there are more and more party members who judge films while having no deeper understanding of films and think purely politically.

At the end of June 2019, several months after the Berlinale, the film was officially due to be released in Chinese cinemas, but was then withdrawn from the schedule only four days before the start. This makes it clear that it is an intervention of censorship. Probably the filmmakers had been negotiating with the authorities for months, but failed in the end. Once again, there are no further explanations.

The leading roles of the film are played by it-girl Zhou Dongyu and popstar Jackson Yee, so the annoyance on social media was correspondingly great when their fans learned that the film was not shown. Tens of thousands declared that they would not forget the film and wait for its release.

Release: Aug 07, 2019 - Author: sausagemoo81 - Translator: Mike Lowrey

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