China’s First Big Gay Film To Hit Theaters Soon

Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Chinese film-going public isn’t that Seek McCartney was made but that the gay-themed film is actually making it to the widescreen at all. The picture – known in China as 尋找羅麥 – is the story of two men, Li Yi (played by Hang Geng) and a Frenchman known only as Rohmer (played by Jérémie Elkaïm) whose quests for spirituality leads them into each other’s arms.

The decision to release the picture comes at a time when Chinese censors are clamping down on any objectionable content being shown to the country’s explosive, TV-hungry audience. First among them, homosexuality.

So with the news of its imminent release, many took it as a sign that the Chinse censors were beginning to loosen their grip on mature content. “But the opposite has happened,” reports Quartz, an online magazine. “Early this month, a new set of rules from a subdivision of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) banned Chinese producers from making television shows depicting “abnormal sexual relations or sexual behavior,” including homosexuality—along with a detailed list of forbidden content, from drinking to vengeance. A gay-themed online drama called Addiction was abruptly pulled from Chinese video portals, and a viral internet comedy about bisexuality was banned.”

“The fact that this film can be released in theaters doesn’t mean gay films in the future will be able to released in China,” Fan Popo, an LGBT filmmaker and rights activist, said of Seek McCartney in a September interview with AFP. He warned that Chinese censors have an “unstable” process for evaluating films that largely depends on “the individual censor’s whims.” His documentary about young gay Chinese and their parents was removed from the internet days after Seek McCartney was approved.

And if there is any doubt about just how ‘gay’ this gay picture is, check out the trailer for Seek McCartney below. Extra points if you can spot the gay bits.