Uncut '50 Shades Darker' would be 'too pornographic' for Vietnamese: official

By Thoai Ha   February 17, 2017 | 07:53 pm PT
The Cinema Department explains why the erotic film has to be censored, even after an adult-only rating was given.

The Vietnam Cinema Department has confirmed that seven minutes had to be cut from "50 Shades Darker," the second installment of the popular erotic series, to make the film appropriate for local theaters.

Ngo Phuong Lan, who heads the department, charged with overseeing film censorship in Vietnam, said that even when a new film rating system has been introduced to allow adult-only C18 releases, certain kinds of content still need to be restricted.

If a movie contains scenes violating the Cinema Law, the distributors may have to choose between the risks of a ban or simply removing such scenes, Lan said.

She described the scenes removed from "50 Shades Darker" "pornographic."

“Other sex and love-making scenes that comply with regulations for 18+ content were kept,” she said.

Vietnamese moviegoers were expecting less censorship when the authorities announced a new rating system with a series of age-based classifications C13, C16 and C18, besides the general P for all viewers.

Before that, local cinemas adopted only two ratings – G for general viewers and NC16 for those above 16.

But it seems that a C18 rating does not mean Hollywood flicks will have it easy in Vietnam.

“50 Shades Darker,” as well as the action thriller “John Wick: Chapter 2,” were scheduled for their big premiere in Vietnam on February 10 but were hold up for another day. The latter had three minutes of violent scenes cut off.

In the U.S., "50 Shades Darker" was rated R for strong erotic sexual content, some graphic nudity and language. It is deemed inappropriate for viewers under 15 in Australia, under 16 in Canada and under 18 in both Ireland and the U.K, according to classifications listed by the movie database website IMDB.

Sex generally remains a controversial subject in movie and arts in Vietnam. In 2015, officials proposed banning all sex scenes that lasted over five seconds in local films and full-frontal female nudity. The proposal was not discussed after that due to strong opposition from filmmakers.

The first “50 Shades” film also had a rough release two years ago after censors unexpectedly canceled all planned screenings. Then a so-called “Asian version” managed to hit theaters but moviegoers lamented that there were no sex scenes left.

Both three books of the "50 Shades" series, which the films are based on, have been published in Vietnam, reportedly without being censored.

Vietnam’s movie industry is doing well. Lan said ticket sales have been growing 20 percent every year the past decade.

Related news:

Is ‘50 Shades’ still too sexy for Vietnamese moviegoers?

Vietnam adopts new film system with 18+ rating

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