There’s a bit of political drama taking place at the 21st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. Two Chinese films, City of Life and Death and Quick, Quick, Slow, have been withdrawn by Chinese authorities due to the response people are having to a documentary entitled The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom, which is a film that follows the Dalai Lama and deals with the trials and tribulations in Tibet.

The Festival Director Darryl Macdonald commented on the situation:

After meeting with representatives from the Chinese government regarding their request to cancel our screenings of The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom, we have respectfully declined their request. I’m saddened that the Chinese film authorities have chosen to withdraw their films from PSIFF, as the Festival is an international cultural event whose mandate is to present a wide cross section of perspectives and points of view. That said, we cannot allow the concerns of one country or community to dictate what films we should or should not play, based on their own cultural or political perspective. Freedom of expression is a concept that is integral both to the validity of artistic events, and indeed, to the ethos of this country.

The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom will continue to be screening on Sunday, January 10 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, January 12 at 4:00 p.m.

The Festival will replace City of Life and Death with the following screenings:

  • For a Moment Freedom (Austria/France), which centers on a group of Middle Eastern refugees who have made their way to Turkey to apply for European visas, will screen on Friday, January 8 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Sticky Fingers (Canada/France/Spain), a comedy about six of the world’s worst gangsters, will screen on Sunday, January 10 at 5:30 p.m.

Replacement screenings for Quick, Quick, Slow will be announced at a later date.

What do you think about the two films being pulled?