The director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival says two Chinese movies selected for the event have been withdrawn in response to the scheduled screenings of a documentary about the Dalai Lama and Tibet.
Organisers declined Chinese government representatives' request to cancel screenings of a documentary about Tibet’s freedom struggle. Darryl Macdonald says "City of Life and Death" and "Quick, Quick, Slow" were withdrawn from the 21st annual festival.
Chinese director Lu Chuan told The Associated Press in a phone interview Thursday that he accepted the Chinese government's decision-but hinted he wasn't able to speak freely because of political pressure. The director, a rising star in China, initially declined to be interviewed at all.
"This interview is too sensitive. It's not very appropriate for me to do it," Lu said.
When pressed, he said he "unconditionally accepted" the decision to withdraw his movie.
"This incident involves national interests. National interests trump everything," Lu said. "When it comes to national unity, I think the attitude of all Chinese is the same."
Asked if China, by pulling the two films, was interfering with artistic freedom, Lu said, "It's really, really hard for me to answer that question."
"There are some things I can say internally, but I can't say to the media," he said.
Chinese state-run media Wednesday reported that the makers of the two Chinese movies were upset at the inclusion of a "Tibetan independence" themed film and decided to quit the international film festival in protest of their own. The reports made no mention of government’s interference.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Phayul.