A censored version of the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” opened in China over the weekend in a limited number of arthouse cinemas.
The Chinese Government-approved cut pulled out around four minutes worth of footage from the film including scenes about Mercury’s personal relationships, sexuality references, drug references and AIDS diagnosis references. It also seems they didn’t stop there.
ABC Australia reports that Chinese fans who saw the film over the weekend, but had previously viewed the original cut, compared the two and noticed some key absences.
The most egregious excise was the film’s key scene where Mercury comes out as bisexual to his then-girlfriend Mary Austin – resulting in the end of their relationship. The scene was reportedly completely cut, leaving viewers confused as to why they broke up with one attendee saying: “many scenes in the film didn’t make any sense at all”.
The report goes on to say all explicit and implied references to Mercury’s homosexuality were removed and it was so extreme that scenes including one where Freddie holds a mic stand near his groin, one featuring a historical photo of Mercury and long-term partner Jim Hutton, and the recreation of the ” I Want to Break Free” music video which has the band members in drag – were all removed.
Chinese online streaming service Mango TV drew controversy last month after it censored Malek’s Academy Awards acceptance speech after he got the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Mercury.