Oscar-winning Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, hit cinemas in China last week.
But, the country’s renowned censors removed or altered 10 scenes.
Most of the scenes contained same-sex romance or reference to the singer’s bisexuality.
The total cuts amount to three minutes, according to China-based movie blogger, Basseon.
The Queen biopic tells the story of the band and frontman Freddie Mercury up to their iconic 1985 Live Aid appearance.
It took home five Oscars earlier this year. The Academy named Rami Malek, who plays Mercury, as Best Actor.
A TV station in China was criticized for censoring Malek’s acceptance speech. Subtitles replaced ‘gay man’ with ‘special group.’
China legalized gay sex in 1997 and removed it from the list of mental illnesses in 2001.
But, in a conservative and family-orientated society, many LGBTI Chinese live in the closet. Same-sex marriage is also illegal.
China’s Netcasting Service Association (CNSA) officially banned LGBT content from China’s internet in June 2017.
CNSA labeled homosexuality ‘abnormal sexual behavior’.
More than 24 minutes of LGBTI scenes were cut when the film was released in Malaysia
The first cut comes after 23 minutes, according to Basseon.
BBC TV producers are watching Mercury’s live performance of Killer Queen.
The producer thinks Mercury’s gyrating hips are too much for the audience. He tells the camera person to stop filming Mercury’s crotch.
China’s censors obviously agreed and cut the footage from showing on the producer’s monitor.
Censors, perhaps predictably, cut Mercury’s first kiss with Paul Prenter.
Obviously, the surrounding dialogue would not make much sense without the actual kiss. So, they cut that too.
They left in the final moment of the scene where Prenter grabs Mercury’s chin and says ‘is that what you think?’
I think I’m bisexual
Nearly an hour into the movie, Mercury tells his girlfriend Mary Austin he thinks he’s bisexual.
‘Freddie, you’re gay’ she responds. Austin then breaks off their engagement.
The censored version reportedly cuts out any talk about sexuality and goes straight to the break-up, leaving audiences to guess at why the pair might have abruptly seperated.
A few minutes later in the film, Roger Taylor tells Mercury his new mustache and haircut looks ‘gay-er’.
This got cut too.
China’s censors also didn’t think Mercury’s behavior at his party was appropriate.
They cut the few seconds where he kisses a man on the cheek then slaps a woman on the behind.
Come and find me when you decide to like yourself
At the end of the party, Mercury starts talking to Jim Hutton, who became his long-time partner.
As you might have guessed from the previous cut, China’s censors cut the bit where Mercury grabs Hutton’s bottom.
They also cut the same-sex kiss. They left, however, Hutton’s last line: ‘Come and find me when you decide you like yourself.’
Lack of sexuality
In the press conference scene, a reporter asks ‘could you tell us about the rumors concerning your sexuality’.
Subtitles at China’s cinemas translate ‘sexuality’ to ‘sex life’.
Censors cut the whole section of the cross-dressing Break Free music video.
It is perhaps the most ruthless cut of the whole film.
‘I’ve got it’
One of the most poignant moments of the movie is when Mercury tells his bandmates he has AIDS.
According to Basseon, while the scene itself is not cut, censors cut the sound and provide no subtitles for the emotional scene.
Freddie and Jim
A final heart-breaking cut was made just before the end credits.
The real-life photo of Mercury and Hutton (with a cat) and the words ‘Freddie and Jim enjoyed a loving relationship for the remainder of Freddie’s life’ was cut.
Author: Rik Glauert
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