Gong Li (center): In
the eye of a storm
China's most famous film director spent $57 million on his latest blockbuster
only to explode the screen with the busty figure of actresses and re-trigger
calls for a movie rating system in the country.
Zhang Yimou's Hero was an international box office hit in 2002. Last month he
hit the cinemas with the epic, Curse of the Golden Flower.
Though the film's major scenes are a riot of colors, with a dominant golden
hue, bloody battles and highly decorated sets with tens of thousands of flowers,
the limelight is hogged by it's actresses' cleavages.
The most eye-catching is Gong Li, with her breasts appearing ready to pop out
of her tightly wrapped costumes.
But sadly there were no warnings for parents who took their underage kids "to
support the domestic film industry".
A note of warning in the film's posters and publicity trailers could have
saved the parents from unnecessary embarrassment and their children from
"There should have been a warning," deputy dean of the School of Journalism
and Communication of Tsinghua University Yin Hong told China Daily Wednesday.
"But it's not a must in the country because we don't have a movie ratings
To make things worse, posters on the campuses of primary schools urge
youngsters to watch the movie to support the domestic movie industry, professor
of Beijing Film Academy Cui Weiping said.
A woman named Ding Yunxia took her five-year-old son to cinema and had to
frequently cover his eyes with her hands. "I told him to do so with his own
hands but he wouldn't," she said. "I'm not sure how much of those shiny white
breasts rubbed off his eyes."
Despite China traditionally being a conservative society, more and more of
its films, both commercial and artistic, have scenes of exposure that could be
offending to many, Cui said. The trend began with the new century.
Zhang may have liked the viewers to admire the "Curse of the Golden Flower"
for its story, splendor and visual effects, but unfortunately they are likely to
remember it only for the controversy Gong's gowns and their busts created, he
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) declined
comment on controversial scenes in films made in the country, saying the ratings
system was too "sensitive" a subject to be talked about.
Back in 2004, Tong Gang, then SARFT director general, said a ratings system
would be introduced in accordance with China's legal framework instead of being
based on foreign countries' existing norms.
The ratings system was to be based on the "psychological age" of adolescent
Chinese. Overseas and Chinese films were to be rated and classified according to
their contents such as murder scenes, violence, terror and sex, he said.
Asked about her scenes in the "Curse of the Golden Flower", Gong Li said the
costumes merely showed the beauty of a woman's curves. "We didn't have any
feeling of awkwardness or risk while wearing those costumes," she said.
Director Zhang, too, has defended the scenes. He has been quoted in Chongqing
as having said: "People shouldn't see the breasts only. They do that only
because sex had been a forbidden topic."