Chinese censors have butchered 40 minutes from Cloud Atlas. Here's the easy joke: thank goodness someone cut 40 minutes out of Cloud Atlas! It was too long! Wokka wokka!
But fuck that joke because, a) the movie is wonderful at current length and b) Chinese censors have apparently taken their scissors largely to the beautiful and haunting gay love story that makes up one of the emotional poles of the film. A dictatorial regime that hates gays? It's like a peek into the alternate universe where Romney won the election.
I'm so endlessly troubled by this. It's not that China is editing the film - which is an outrage in and of itself - but that nobody's going to raise a stink because China is a great trading partner. As China's economic influence grows we've seen movie producers kowtowing to that market (remember when the Chinese in the Red Dawn remake were digitally changed into North Koreans?), and I worry that even as our own country becomes more liberal about human rights and equality, our movie product won't reflect that as producers try to break into the Chinese market.
We should be getting mad about stuff like this, not making lame jokes.