South Korea’s highest-ever grossing movie has been banned from Chinese theaters because of subtle gay themes, said a South Korean movie executive on Tuesday.
The movie, King and the Clown, is about a domineering king in the 16th century and his two court jesters. It was said to be censored from the silver screens for its gay innuendos and for sexually explicit language, according to the movie’s entertainment company.
“The move King and the Clown could not pass the deliberation process in China because of the homosexual code and sexually explicit language in the movie,” an official with South Korean entertainment company CJ said to Reuters from its Beijing office.
The film does not clearly define the relationship between the king and the jesters and there are no sex scenes, but a romance is implied, according to Reuters. The most overt homosexual scenes were when the king shares longing looks with one of the jester and in another scene the two share a quick on-screen kiss.
Homosexuality, until as recent as 2001, was considered a mental disorder in China and is still a highly sensitive subject. The government has recently begun to reach out to homosexuals through HIV/AIDS education but continues to ban many gay and lesbian internet sites.
King and the Clown has earned more than $85 million in South Korea and sold some 12 million tickets in a country with a population of about 48 million.
The CJ official, who asked to remain anonymous, said Chinese authorities gave the company permission to distribute the movie on DVD in China.