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April 12, 2011 4:23 PM   Subscribe

China bans time-travel movies. [via]
posted by crossoverman (62 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Forget it, Marty. It's China.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:26 PM on April 12, 2011 [33 favorites]


Finally, the Middle Kingdom is safe from The Time Traveler's Wife.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:26 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"They can't do that to our history! Only *we* can do that to our history!"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:27 PM on April 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


If I can't understand Primer, NOBODY GETS TO!
posted by kafziel at 4:27 PM on April 12, 2011 [18 favorites]


1.21 GIGAPEOPLE?
posted by doublehappy at 4:28 PM on April 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm okay with this. Hopefully it will stop Star Trek from doing it every movie.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:31 PM on April 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Chris Livingston has suggested we just edit the time travel out of films. Freejack, for example, would last as long as it should have in the first place: about 5 minutes.
posted by hellojed at 4:32 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I knew those dang Ninja Turtles were gonna mess this up for the rest of us! I told em, one sequel is enough, but no, the greedy bastards had to push it.
posted by mannequito at 4:33 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel like something does need to be done about the number of paradoxes you can get away with in a PG movie.

Children are our future, and if the future includes time travel, they are also our past. If we have them going around and messing with their family tree, or creating artifacts with no clear origin, or just generally making trips to the past to make changes they'll have no motivation to make in the new timeline, time will get all sloppy and that will hurt property values and our continuum's natural beauty. And many of the paradoxes that get glorified in sci-fi show remarkable disrespect for their parents and grandparents.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:36 PM on April 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


How to write headlines:

China bans time travel... [more inside]
---------
...in movies.
[Via]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:39 PM on April 12, 2011 [22 favorites]


Silence has fallen.
posted by Artw at 4:41 PM on April 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


What's stopping them from just banning all lazy plot devices?
posted by indubitable at 4:44 PM on April 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


First, they came for the time travelers, and I said nothing but they couldn't find them because they'd already traveld through time.

Then, they came for the ghosts, and I said nothing because they couldn't figure out how to catch them, so they just let them be.

So when they came for me, I said nothing, because I had no mouth and I needed to scream.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:46 PM on April 12, 2011 [22 favorites]


See, our guy goes back in time and he finds Confucius, and finds that Confucius and Lao-Tze are great buddies and totally in lockstep, and our guy shows them how it works out on his iPhone and Lao-Tze is like that is totally sick I'm outta here but Confucius gets it, he gets the need for social order and so he... Marty? Marty? fucking Taiwanese cell phones!
posted by localroger at 4:47 PM on April 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


If the 21st century does turn out to be the Chinese century, I suspect that we're all fucked.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:47 PM on April 12, 2011


Wait. Does this mean I can no longer buy a bootleg version of the Back to the Future trilogy in a box with Matrix graphics and a description of the Matrix Trilogy on the back? I'm not sure if I want to live in a world where I can't buy really bad bootleg copies of Back to the Future.

Why I didn't actually buy that I'll never know.
posted by graventy at 4:48 PM on April 12, 2011


Let a hundred flowers blossom... forever.
posted by cenoxo at 4:51 PM on April 12, 2011


indubitable: "What's stopping them from just banning all lazy plot devices?"

The complete absence of new cinema?
posted by Splunge at 4:51 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


C'mon China, you damn well know seeing a mix of modern Jackie Chan stunts and him in period piece costuming leading an army and building a mountain of bodies wuxia style is gonna be some GDP by it's damn self.
posted by yeloson at 4:54 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh oh. Gonna have to revise The Periodic Table of Storytelling. Somebody better go and get a shitload of asterisks.
posted by mosk at 4:54 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


1.21 GIGAPEOPLE?
posted by doublehappy


Give or take the 300 MEGAPEOPLE round off error.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:55 PM on April 12, 2011


Is this only for movies traveling backwards in time? 'Cause I think they should also consider banning time travel that is disrespectful to the future: Even if proceeds at the current rate of time 1 second per second. That way all Chinese cinema can consist of lovely and iconic still-life of a boot stamping on a human face forever.
posted by isopraxis at 4:55 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Time travel is threatening the state monopoly on revising history.
posted by benzenedream at 4:59 PM on April 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yes. We should ban imagination, because then we could be more like those exciting things we saw at school when we looked at a droplet of pond water under a microscope.

Finally, the Middle Kingdom is safe from The Time Traveler's Wife.

Really? Then I'm moving there, because that book fucking sucked.
posted by Decani at 5:01 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]



When time-travel movies are outlawed ... no

Time-travel movies don't disrespect history ... no

You can have my time-travel movies when you ... nevermind.

posted by wobh at 5:05 PM on April 12, 2011


This is exactly what the Men in Saffron want us to believe.
posted by curious nu at 5:08 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


sometimes I hate this kind of time-travel story, sometimes I love it. The Chinese govt should let them be free to make these, so then I can love and hate as I wish.
posted by jb at 5:10 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


many people complain there’re too many mistakes on history facts, making it unbearable to watch.

Here's the advice I gave my daughter when she got pissed off with the costuming and makup in Sherlock Holmes: DON'T FUCKING WATCH IT.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:10 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you outlaw scifi then only criminals will have scifi,
meaning only criminals will go on to study physics.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:21 PM on April 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Right before the new season of Doctor Who starts? That sucks.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:21 PM on April 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


So when does this ban take effect?
posted by kmz at 5:22 PM on April 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


They were getting too close to the truth!
posted by Zed at 5:23 PM on April 12, 2011


Dude, let's just hide the time travel movies somewhere...like behind that sign!...and pick them up when the regime has changed.

Excellent!
posted by DU at 5:30 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


They're just preemptively defending the nation against Bill & Ted 3
posted by ShutterBun at 5:39 PM on April 12, 2011


Something something ex maChina.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:41 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


So much for my DOCTOR HU pitch.
posted by Prince Lazy I at 5:45 PM on April 12, 2011 [13 favorites]


"Ha, ha, China, you so crazy!" stories seems to pop up a lot. Much as I love reading them, they aren't' always true. There are some people who say that it was a mistranslation in the original ChinaHush piece that has perpetuated around the blogosphere and is now spreading through MSM too. I give the naysayers some credit, because there isn't - as far as I'm aware - a "General Bureau of Radio, Film and TV." It's the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and the State Administration for Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) that monitor and censor Chinese media. But then I can't find any of my normal China-authority blogs that even cover this issue, so perhaps one of our Chinese/China-based MeFites could look into it more?
posted by gemmy at 5:46 PM on April 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


To be fair, the original headline read "China to Ban Time, Travel, Movies." Because in the Eternal Here and Now, who needs entertainment?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:01 PM on April 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Especially no movies allowed about travelling to a time before this law was in effect.
posted by telstar at 6:03 PM on April 12, 2011


It's OK , I fixed it

On the way back I'm going to take care of that Hitler thing too
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:03 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been informed by the people in the last China thread that both China and the U.S. are equally oppressive, so we should introspectively
examine the U.S. censorship of time travel films.
posted by happyroach at 6:04 PM on April 12, 2011


So they ban movies with time travel but are willing to endorse films that mess with physics at will?

Your typical martial arts movie has people running up walls, jumping over rooftops, flitting through the trees and performing physical stunts that break the law of gravity.

And then there is the supernatural component, where people can shoot bundles of energy from their palms and so on.

Time travel should be the least of its worries.
posted by bwg at 6:05 PM on April 12, 2011


How the hell do you disrespect the past? It already happened. It can't care. Unless you have actual time travel, YOU CAN'T AFFECT IT.
posted by you're a kitty! at 6:06 PM on April 12, 2011


On the way back I'm going to take care of that Hitler thing too

Obligatory
posted by KingEdRa at 6:07 PM on April 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Free Ai Weiwei!
posted by puny human at 6:13 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Forks? Where we're going we don't need forks...
posted by ericbop at 6:14 PM on April 12, 2011


Doctor Hu?
posted by jabah at 6:20 PM on April 12, 2011


China would ban the present if it could.
posted by Catblack at 7:09 PM on April 12, 2011


This is kind of a double.... I'm sure I read about this tomorrow.
posted by Malor at 7:15 PM on April 12, 2011


LOL China and all, but can you imagine if this was an issue the MPAA cared about? Here in the US our rating must appear seemingly arbitrary. I wonder if other countries look at the ratings, and shake their heads. Oh those US crazies and their love of all violence and complete weirdness about sexy sex people doing sex things with their sex parts.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 8:56 PM on April 12, 2011


Mr. President! We can not allow a General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP)!
posted by Splunge at 9:05 PM on April 12, 2011


But then I can't find any of my normal China-authority blogs that even cover this issue, so perhaps one of our Chinese/China-based MeFites could look into it more?
First I've heard of it but then I'm horribly out of touch with what's on the telly. This seems to be the original story in Chinese, also here; Li Jingsheng, head of the 'TV Drama Management Division' [电视剧管理司] of SARFT, speaking at an annual meeting of a directors-for-TV committee on April 1 said they won't be green-lighting any more retellings of the Four Great Novels in the near future (as there's been too many shitty remakes, it seems) and that there needs to be 'calm reflection and discussion' [冷静反思和讨论] of time-travel themes which have proliferated in TV drama recently. The longer quote in the first article has him criticising the time-travel dramas for a lack of correct (or indeed, any) historical perspective, instead going for the cheap gimmickry.
So AFAICT it's the re-working of the classics they won't be allowing near-term, while you might well get a time-travel script through if it finds that in fact the people of high Tang Luoyang were in fact massive fans of building a socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics in an all-round harmonious way, they just never had th good fortune to live under the sage rule of our present dynasty. 数风流人物,还看今朝!
posted by Abiezer at 9:18 PM on April 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Bit of a proliferation of 'in facts' in my post. Seek truth from them, as yer man said.
posted by Abiezer at 9:21 PM on April 12, 2011


I hate to be that guy, the population of China is more in the JIGAPEOPLE range.
posted by Horizontally a Champion at 10:24 PM on April 12, 2011


In these time-travel based TV plays, usually the protagonist is from the modern time and for some reasons and via some means, travels through time and all the way back to the ancient China where he/she will constantly experience the "culture shock" but gradually get used to it and eventually develop a romance in that era.

I wonder why the officials of communist China are against telling today's Chinese that they would like living in pre-communist China?
posted by pracowity at 11:47 PM on April 12, 2011


You're not a proper totalitarian regime unless you can totally control the narrative. Which includes cracking down on anything that has the potential to subvert the one true narrative, whether it's humour or fantasy.

Note that it doesn't have to actually be subversive; just by existing, it signals the potential to defy the total authority of the state, and the possibility of other narratives existing and being spoken. This is the same reason why China cracked down on Falun Gong; not because they were advocating rebellion or dissent (they weren't), but because, merely by organising outside of the Communist Party, they were demonstrating other possibilities.
posted by acb at 2:17 AM on April 13, 2011


Didn't they already do this?
posted by Curious Artificer at 5:47 AM on April 13, 2011


You're not a proper totalitarian regime unless you can totally control the narrative.

Sometimes controlling a highly visible chunk of it is enough.

There's clearly a lot of practical freedom in China right now, but the government of China proves again and again that they have the capability to crack down on any particular thing they want to.

People still routinely get taken in the night. I'm told you get a phone call first, and that almost nobody tries to run. I can only assume that's because they believe it would be useless, believe deep down that they really deserve it, or a little of both. (Mix to suit the circumstance.)

In theory, of course, teh internet could fix all this through crowdsourced resistence that treats censorship as damage and routes around it, but see my first 2 paragraphs.

Also, I don't think the "boot stepping on a face forever" comments are very helpful in understanding the situation because they are quite dissonant with regard to the reality that, as noted, there is a great deal of practical freedom in China today. Just, don't be saying shit the regime doesn't want said.
posted by lodurr at 6:36 AM on April 13, 2011


This time travel fad actually started in novels.

I believe the first novel in this genre that hit it big was 《寻秦记》 (Looking for the Qing Dynasty) by 黄易. (It was later adapted into a popular TV series.) It's about a special ops guy who travelled back and found his fame and fortune fighting for the future first emperor of China. A host of copy-cat works followed, and because the male protagonist usually boasts numerous romantic exploits, this type of character is nicknamed the 'stallion'.

What followed was very interesting. (Mostly young) woman novelists noticed this and said to themselves 'Surely we can do wish-fulfillment too.' and started sending girls back into history.

A typical female time-traveller, (穿越女), with her knowledge of modern medicine, business acumen, pop songs, makeup mastery and high EQ (emotional quotient) in general, always proves to be very successful in her romantic conquests, sometimes holding several princes in her thrall at once.

Her success definitely speaks to female empowerment. (In one memorable episode in one particular book, the female protagonist manages to perform amputation surgery on her lover with only her memory of a medical text book she once translated to aid her.) But because her success is always mainly on romantic terms, she probably won't win any feminist award anytime soon...

As a plot devise, time travel is very clever. It allows the author to maintain his or her modern sensibilities (as these novels are largely told in the first person voice,) and creates instant intrigue (how will she blend in?). Whatever the historical backdrop, it is always a nice change of pace for the mostly urban/online readers of these novels. (By the way, some of these authors, though in the minority, do care about historical verisimilitude. At their best, they do what HBO's 'Rome' does to Roman history.)

This plot also gets very old very fast. For instance, the first few chapters always need to deal with the time-traveller's sense of dislocation and their grief over the loss of their previous life. Many novels only pay lip-service to this aspect, and I can hardly blame them, but that always sets the wrong tone for the rest of the book. Some writers however manage to play up all these cliches for great comedic effect.

Anyhow, this post probably ran on too long... this is a fairly recent news article in Chinese on this time-travel fad on TV.
posted by of strange foe at 12:27 PM on April 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


A typical female time-traveller, (穿越女), with her knowledge of modern medicine, business acumen, pop songs, makeup mastery and high EQ (emotional quotient) in general, always proves to be very successful in her romantic conquests, sometimes holding several princes in her thrall at once.

What's the Chinese for "Mary Sue"?
posted by acb at 1:53 AM on April 14, 2011


Maybe it's just to discourage people from making bad Christmas wishes and using 7-up to travel through time
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:09 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's the Chinese for "Mary Sue"?

acb, that's just a direct phonetic translation - 玛丽苏 (Ma-li Shu) or 苏 for short. But she's a very busy girl and doesn't limit her appearances in time-travel stories. :)
posted by of strange foe at 10:15 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


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