Controversy surrounding ''Ju Dou''
Although it didn’t win an Oscar, Best Foreign Film nominee Ju Dou (the first Chinese film ever nominated) did stir up a whirlwind in Hollywood. Chinese authorities — apparently objecting to its political implications and nudity — delayed the release of Zhang Yimou’s film in China and petitioned the Academy to remove it from the nominations. The issue of censorship brought the Hollywood community together in a strong show of support. Miramax Films (which will release Ju Dou in the U.S.) sent a letter — signed by such luminaries as Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese — to the Chinese Ministry of Radio, Film, and Television urging them to allow the film to be shown. And Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment will officially present Ju Dou. ”It’s a way of endorsing the film,” said Amblin president Kathleen Kennedy. ”We’re trying to create a heightened awareness of the movie so as many people see it as possible.” The outcry has had no immediate effect, but it has focused attention on Ju Dou that the movie might never have received. Says Kennedy: ”People wouldn’t necessarily be running out to see a foreign film. But if they see the support of filmmakers, they tend to take more notice.”