Thursday, June 07, 2001

Edited movie yanked at Esquire

Distributor says cuts weren't OK'd

By Margaret A. McGurk
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Center of the World was expected to close tonight after a two-week run at The Esquire Theater, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton.

        Instead, the erotic drama from award-winning director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club, Smoke, Anywhere But Here) was pulled Monday by its distributor, Artisan Entertainment, because the theater edited the movie without authorization.

        The Center of the World was distributed without a rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, because the filmmakers declined to excise graphic sexual images sure to earn it an NC-17 rating.

        Those are the images that the Esquire apparently excised without permission.

        “Artisan cannot condone when an exhibitor makes a unilateral decision to alter a film,” said Paul Pflug, executive vice president for national publicity and corporate communications for Artisan. “We stand by the integrity of the films we release and the vision of the filmmakers we support. Thus, we made the decision to remove the film from that venue.”

        Gary Goldman, who runs Theater Management Corp. that owns the Esquire and Mariemont theaters, could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.

        Artist and anti-censorship activist William Messer said he discovered the movie was gone when he tried to buy a ticket on his return from a business trip to Chicago.

        “To me, it was a little frustrating,” he said. “If I had known, I would have seen it in Chicago, in a metropolitan area full of grown-ups.”


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