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    Cut by a Minute, Zhang Yimou Film ‘One Second’ Secures China Release

    Regulators have finally approved the renowned director’s long-delayed Cultural Revolution drama, which is said to be 60 seconds shorter than when it was abruptly withdrawn from last year’s Berlin International Film Festival.
    Oct 16, 2020#TV & film

    More than a year after being pulled from the Berlin International Film Festival, acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s latest movie has finally been approved for domestic release next month.

    “One Second” will be screened at cinemas across China starting Nov. 27, according to an announcement Wednesday. The movie was dropped from the Berlin film festival in February last year due to “technical reasons,” and was only approved for domestic release by the National Film Bureau last month.

    According to industry news outlets, the newly approved version of “One Second” is a minute shorter than the 105-minute version submitted to the Berlin film festival. The production crew had reportedly returned to the northwestern Gansu province for a reshoot, suggesting there were a few changes to the final cut.

    Set during the decadelong Cultural Revolution, “One Second” tells the story of a man searching for a film reel that he believes contains a single second of footage with his deceased daughter. Directed by Zhang, a three-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker who also orchestrated the cinematic opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the movie stars popular Chinese actors Zhang Yi and Fan Wei in leading roles.

    The release of “One Second” comes as China’s film industry is slowly recovering following a monthslong hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    In late August, another long-delayed war movie, “The Eight Hundred,” was released months after it was pulled from the Shanghai International Film Festival last year, also for technical reasons. The film has since raked in more than 3 billion yuan ($450 million) in box office revenue.

    Several movies that were initially scheduled to release during January’s Lunar New Year holiday — a peak period for movie theaters — but had to be postponed due to the pandemic were also released during the National Day holiday earlier this month. Those movies, including sports biopic “Leap” and the animated “Legend of Deification,” or “Jiang Ziya,” helped amass 3.9 billion yuan in box office revenue during the eight-day holiday.

    Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

    (Header image: A still from Zhang Yimou’s new film “One Second.” From Douban)