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January 22, 1988|RICK SHERWOOD | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci said Thursday that Japanese distributors of "The Last Emperor" had restored its sequences on the so-called Rape of Nanking in 1937 after he and Chinese officials objected. Bertolucci said in an interview with the newspaper La Stampa that the Japanese distributors had told him they received threats from right-wing groups after the film was shown at the Tokyo Film Festival and that those groups had threatened to plant bombs in theaters showing the film because of documentary sequences on the invasion of Manchuria, the bombing of Shanghai and the massacre at Nanking. Shochiku Fuji Co., which earlier claimed the scenes showing Japanese soldiers killing Chinese in Nanking in 1937 had been deleted by the producers before the film was delivered to Tokyo, said the flap was a result of a "misunderstanding" but had not mentioned threats. On Wednesday, Bertolucci said that in the editing he had cut just a few seconds of footage "in order to unblock a situation which seemed paralyzed" but that the Japanese firm then had "cut the whole sequence of the Rape of Nanking without my authorization and against my will, without even informing me." Said Bertolucci of the sequence's re-insertion: "I am very happy that my protest and especially the more than legitimate protest of the Chinese government have defeated a censorship of fear and that the Japanese public can see 'The Last Emperor' in its full version."

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