I feared something like this would happen.

Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) issued a statement that it canceled the screening of the Hong-Kong Chinese production, Yim Ho’s FLOATING CITY.

“It is with great regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the scheduled screening of Floating City in the Winds of Asia-Middle East section at the 25th Tokyo International Film Festival due to certain reasons on the production side. Although we have strongly made request to those involved not to call off the plan to take part in the festival, the cancellation has unfortunately been finalized.”

These “certain reasons on the production side” are subject of much speculation, but recent China-Japan dispute over Senkaku islands is certainly the central issue.

“The comment about “certain reasons on the production side” appears to be a veiled reference to the conflict between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Daiyou islands that has escalated in the past week.”

Guardian is a little bit more blatant:

“The move to withdraw Floating City countered suggestions by Tokyo international film festival chairman Tom Yoda last week that political tensions would not affect the festival.”

The TIFF statement suggests the decision to cancel the entry was entirely on Chinese side. Though I believe “the production side” must have their own agenda to pull it out of competition, I have to wonder, considering the past events under the similar political climate, TIFF might have feared certain unpleasantness surrounding the screening of a Chinese film at this time. Protest, sabotage, obstruction, vandalism… by Japanese. Back in 1997, DON’T CRY, NANKING (1995), a Chinese film depicting atrocities by Japanese military during the war, met fierce protest and obstruction by right-wing extremists during the theatrical showing in Japan. Some theaters were forced to cancel its screening after a few days. Even though Yim Ho’s film itself does not seem to incite international political matters, the mere presence of a Chinese film might.
I know, and we all know, this is not what majority of people, – whether Japanese or Chinese -, want. Only a certain fraction of people have narrow vision and commend intolerance as “brave political statement”. However, as history suggests repeatedly, this majority is a fragile component. It can be easily swayed by twisted ideas.
There is a new study about how extreme idea wins over the moderate ones. The researchers created the mathematical model to simulate ideological conflicts among population. The result: extremists wins almost all the time. Maybe that’s the limit of human intellect. We are flawed, even mathematically.
We, simple-minded movie aficionados, want to believe “International Film Festival” is just that: international. Of course, it is not truly international, but we want to believe its good intentions. When the good intentions are defeated, and foul mouths speak louder than soundtrack, cinema ceases to be an art. And no one wins in the end. 

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