Video: Queer China, ‘Comrade China’ Panel Discussion at Cinemasie Festival

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

At CinemAsia Film Festival in Amsterdam this year, Chinese queer activist, writer, and filmmaker Cui Zi’en’s Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China was selected for an official screening followed by a panel discussion titled “Queer Asian Imagination.” The film was grouped with eight other LGBT films in the Queer and Asia program, a key component of CinemAsia. Cui met with the program attendees after the film and answered their inquiries about LGBT culture in China. Below are some YouTube videos documenting the Q&A session with Cui. Also present at the discussion were Michiel Baas from the International Institute for Asian Studies, Hong Kong filmmaker Kit Hung, CinemAsia board member Jeroen de Kloet, as well as Yang Jin, who appears in the film. In the videos below, Cui’s answers in Chinese are omitted, but were spoken in English by a translator (seen in the orange shirt).

Cui points out one major difference distinguishing Chinese gay population from that elsewhere in the world. “Many young Chinese gay and lesbians, they also go to gay bars,” he says. “But one difference is in China, they also aspire to get married as heterosexuals. I think that’s one of the biggest difference.”

Cui also notes the tension between the state and gay cinema in China today. He says, “The law environment in China is very different in terms of filmmaking. There are thirteen prohibitions in China in terms of movie-making. One of them is that you are not allowed to make a gay-themed film. That’s why you can’t see gay-related films in mainstream cinemas or film festivals. Even a Hollywood movie like Brokeback Mountain, when they tried to enter the Chinese market, it was impossible.”

Part One:

More after the break.

Part Two:

Part Three:

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