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China-Japan Land Dispute Boils Over at Tokyo Film Festival

Cinematographer for Chinese film "Feng Shui" is prevented from speaking at a news conference at the Tokyo International Film Festival


Controversy surrounding the Chinese film "Feng Shui" continued to swirl at the Tokyo International Film Festival on Monday, when the film's cinematographer, Liu Younian, was prevented from taking part in a news conference tied to the screening of the film.

Liu arrived in Tokyo on Monday, after the film's director, Wang Jing, and actors Yan Bingyan and Jiao Gang canceled their trip. Their action followed the film's producers attempts late last week to stop the film's participation in the festival amid ongoing territorial tensions between China and Japan.

Tom Yoda (left), chairman of the festival, confirmed to TheWrap that "Feng Shui" would screen as planned on Monday, laying to rest confusion over the fate of the family drama that follows the daily struggles in a working class Chinese household.

“We have a signed contract, and we already have the film here,” Yoda said.  “I think it is important that we show it.”

Protests erupted in China in August, after the Japanese purchased the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, from private land owners. Taiwan also claims the islands as their own.

Nobushige Toshima, the festival's first secretary, said he imaged that Liu was unaware of the gravity of the situation and possibly unaware that his colleagues had canceled their appearances.

 "The festival is not an arena for politics. It is a place for culture, and the only question is whether or not this is a good film and not whether or not it is Chinese," Toshima said. "We had a signed contract to screen the film from the producers and a clause in the contract saying that the producers could not cancel the screening without the festival's consent."