The 1992, locally produced film The Silent Thrush (失聲畫眉) was broadcasted on 25 Feb 2012 at 7pm during a time-slot designated for films that have received a “General Rating”. It is not clear what the film’s rating is or which version of the film was broadcasted.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) said the film contained inappropriate dialogue and erotic scenes, and had breached the rating regulations. The Silent Thrush is said to contain close-up images of same-sex kissing and undertones of homosexuality as it depicts lesbian relationships within a traditional opera troupe.
Ta-wei Chi, an assistant professor of Taiwan Literature at Taipei’s National Chengchi University, wrote in a letter to the Commission asking the committee to explain its rationale for determining that a depiction of a same-sex relationship should be considered inappropriate for general viewing since opposite-sex relationships and kissing scenes are allowed during the same timeslot.
In the letter that was published on his Facebook page today, he asked if the committee which is tasked to uphold the values of society had in fact acted prejudicially against a segment of society.
He added that the film which is based on the 1990 novel of the same title by Ling Yan (凌煙) is considered a classic and is studied by gender studies scholars in Taiwan. The novel won a NT$1 million prize in a competition organised by the Independent Newspaper Group (自立報系舉辦百萬小說徵選) in 1990. The film adaptation was screened at Cannes Film Festival, and was in competition in various film festivals including the London Film Festival, San Franscisco International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Republic of China Film Festival, and it won the Outstanding Film Award by the Republic of China 83th Year of Film.