By WEI SHENG
BEIJING (China Daily Show) – “Maddening structural problems” in the original cut of foreign sci-fi movie Cloud Atlas have now been thoroughly nixed, representatives for China’s State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) announced yesterday.
The Chinese edition, released Thursday and retitled Clod Atlas, boasts over 45 fewer minutes of running time, SARFT explained.
“Basically, what we did,” spokesman Li Hexie told a press conference Thursday, “was take out the beginning and put it at the end, then removed the end and put it in the middle. As for the middle, that was the easy part – we did not need it at all!”
Cloud Atlas (2012), directed by the Wachowski siblings and Tim Twyker, tells multiple overlapping stories over multiple time periods involving multiple characters, and performed by multiple actors in multiple roles of varying genders and ethnicity.
Clod Atlas (2013), on the other hand, is the moving story of a doomed Cosplay troupe.
“Our film is far more tragic,” promised Li, who is also Clod Atlas’s new co-director, executive producer and principal screenwriter.
Both China’s two voiceover artists, Ting Hao and Hao Ting, dubbed new dialogue for all the characters, including a new scene written by Hao, involving a pair of hapless, travelling, rival salesmen with the exact same name.
“I liked it better because it confused me,” said Wendy Hong, a Chinese screenwriter who has seen both the Western and Chinese versions. “The film’s theme, “Our lives are not our own,’ intrigued me when it was no more than a hazy, optimistic notion. But in the Chinese version, it actually leaves you depressed and pessimistic.”
Li denied that cuts to several scenes, involving nudity and homosexuality, indicated prudishness and homophobia on the part of SARFT.
“It’s simply a question of feasibility,” Hao said. “It’s important to make films that are believable. The transmigration of souls is an ancient Chinese tradition but dudes kissing other dudes? That’s simply unrealistic.”
Indeed, Hao says, proof of the new version’s superior quality can be seen in the critical reaction.
While Cloud Atlas was widely panned by critics and snubbed by the Oscars, Clod Atlas has already been nominated for 16 Golden Cocks.