Last week, China's State Administration of Radio, Film & Televsion (SARFT) made a bizarre announcement on their official website, advising filmmakers against employing time travel storylines in their work going forward. When SARFT gives out "advice" like this it is more or less to be taken as a blanket ban, although there remains no actual published Film law in China at this time. SARFT labelled time travel as treating history "frivolously and disprespectfully" (something no Chinese film has ever done in the past, oh no sir, not never!), not to mention promoting "bad science".
While China is not known for its science fiction films, SARFT's "advice" was most likely prompted by the growing popularity of drama series MYTH and THE PALACE, both of which centre around contemporary heroes who are transported back in time. No doubt the real reason for the ban is to prevent the series writers from making unflattering comparisons between the glorious, infallible utopia that is China today and the wretched wasteland that was China of yesterday, coupled with the fact that 2011 marks yet another milestone for the glorious Communist Party as it celebrates 90 years of idyllic, trouble-free existence.
While it is unlikely that the actual reasons will ever be formally acknowledged, this move did yield one unexpected but welcome development. It gave me the fantastic opportunity of going on the BBC World Service's The World Today Weekend breakfast radio show to discuss the matter in more depth. Should you so wish, you can listen to the segment below:
(Image pilfered in good faith from www.thescreeningroom.ca)
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