A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, by Chinese animated film maker Liu Jian has been removed from Cannes at the last minute. The decision came as a result of lockdowns due to the zero-Covid policy which affected post-production studios in Beijing and Shanghai. It is believed that the film would not be completed in time for the event forcing organizers to pull it from the lineup.
A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man is an animated film set in an art college during the 1990s. It takes an in depth look at the experiences of director Liu as an art student.
Others believe that there is more to the story behind this animated film being pulled from the Cannes lineup. Another film of Liu Jian was pulled in 2017 from France’s Annecy film festival citing pressure from Chinese officials. There are only a few short films from China this year at Cannes Festival and last year, there were no titles in competition other than Wei Shujun’s Ripples Of Life which premiered in Directors Fortnight and Na Jiazuo’s Streetwise. The Beijing-based sales company Rediance had this to say about two of the titles from last year:
”Censorship is a long and complicated process,” said Rediance CEO Xie Meng. ”When a film is finished, it is required to apply for a number of permits before it can premiere overseas. By the time the festival invite drops, the turnaround time leading to the premiere is extremely short. Now there are more hurdles that we need to overcome, making the whole process longer and more difficult. Time is always an issue. If the official censorship is not fully cleared in time, it will end up like One Second.”
To further add to the problems regarding international animation film festivals, travel restrictions have made it difficult for Chinese creators to attend. The pandemic created massive delays for Chinese media on the whole. Because of this Chinese filmmakers are instead debuting their work at local film festivals in Shanghai or Beijing. This works for Chinse officials who are working to further promote local events over foreign ones. An example of this being China’s Golden Rooster Awards which has changed from biannually to annually. The Oscars have also been given less promotion, with no telecast in China for the last two years.