China Cancels Release of 'Memoirs of a Geisha'
2/2/2006 1:59 PM PT
The Chinese government has canceled the release of "Memoirs of a Geisha" -- a decision made amid speculation that officials are worried the sight of Chinese actresses playing Japanese geishas would stir a backlash.
The film originally was cleared for distribution on Feb. 9, but the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV reversed itself over the weekend, according to Sony Pictures Entertainment, which had planned to distribute the film in China.
The official reasons weren't immediately clear, and Chinese authorities couldn't be reached because offices were closed for a national holiday.
"We were pleased by their acceptance of the film in November and were disappointed by this decision," said Jim Kennedy, a spokesman for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
"Memoirs," based on the best-selling novel by Arthur Golden, features "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star Ziyi Zhang, former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh and Gong Li from "Raise the Red Lantern" as geishas -- entertainers skilled in dance, song and conversation.