A Chinese film festival has pulled Call Me By Your Name from its lineup.
The award-winning film follows the love story between Elio (Timothée Chalet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer), an American academic who comes to stay at his family’s home in Italy during the summer of 1983.
But despite receiving almost universal critical acclaim, Sony Pictures Entertainment have announced that the film has been withdrawn from the Beijing Film Festival, which runs from 16 to 23 April.
While both Sony Pictures Entertainment and the festival organiser declined to provide a reason, a person ‘with knowledge of the matter’ said the screening proposal was not approved by regulators, according to Reuters.
“This movie is in deviation from the policy environment in China,” said Wu Jian, a Beijing-based film analyst, adding that the decision was “quite embarrassing” for the country.
While homosexuality isn’t illegal in China, it’s still a taboo subject, and LGBTQ people face challenges their heterosexual and cis peers do not.
“There is no clear policy on this issue, so we are always confused,” said Xin Ying, executive director of the Beijing LGBT Centre.
Back in 2016, the government-approved China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television released a set of guidelines entitled General Regulations on Television Content Production, which explains that homosexuality, extramarital affairs, one-night stands, and underage love are off-limits.
“No television drama shall show abnormal sexual relationships and behaviors, such as incest, same-sex relationships, sexual perversion, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual violence, and so on,” the guidelines state.
While the guidelines may not be law, many shows that didn’t meet the new requirements have been taken down from streaming sites, including popular gay drama Addicted.
Shows that have been banned in China in the past include Doctor Who – for promoting time-travel which is a prohibited theme – The Big Bang Theory, and The Good Wife.