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Keeping abreast of films, TV programs

Updated: 2015-01-07 07:38
By Xiao Lixin (China Daily)

When TV drama The Empress of China, or Saga of Wu Zetian, returned to the small screen this year after a "temporary pause due to technical problems", it was more about big heads than big breasts.

The TV and film watchdog brought the TV drama back to the "right" track. But the change has created a controversy, just like Jiang Wen's Gone With The Bullets. More importantly, the drastic cuts in The Empress of China show that the authorities want to minimize the number of "frivolous scenes" in TV programs.

But during the period when Empress Wu Zetian of Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) ruled China (she was the only woman to do so), women did wear low-cut dresses. Of course, they dressed in quite a natural way rather than to expose their cleavage, unlike the way many actresses do in contemporary film and TV productions. An apt example is Fan Bingbing in the role of Empress Wu Zetian in one such production.

One should never compare film and TV works with what actually happened in history. The best thing to do would be to leave filmmakers and TV program directors to their imagery as long as they do not change the major incidents and characters. After all, despite the revealing costumes, which have divided public opinion, it is an undeniable fact that they symbolized the sartorial tastes of the Tang Dynasty. It's another matter that sometimes directors cross the moral baseline with their choice of clothing.

Of course, the authorities have reason to worry about social norms and ethics. Too much exposure is not good, because it could be harmful for adolescents. But the problem is that, even after the shots of the upper body are replaced by close-ups of the head and face to make the programs suitable for all ages, can the censors be certain that human being's most primitive desire can be repressed?

A prudish attitude is no substitute for proper moral and ethical education. To help adolescents and youths understand the complications of human desire, the authorities have to regulate sex education in schools.

According to the film and TV watchdog's logic, modeling and beauty contestants should be banned, famous sculpture such as Michelangelo's David and the ancient Greek statue Venus de Milo should be covered up, and famous paintings, including Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and Yugong Moves the Mountain by Xu Beihong, should be recreated to ensure the characters "properly dressed".

Hopefully such jokes will not take place.

The author is a writer with China Daily.

Keeping abreast of films, TV programs


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