Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFixme

MORNING REPORT

First Off . . .

June 30, 1989|ALEENE MACMINN | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Ottawa's new $214-million Canadian Museum of Civilization opened Thursday on the banks of the Ottawa River, but not before the Canadian government yanked a film about China's first emperor from the gala opening festivities and replaced it with one about geese. Communications Minister Marcel Masse said it would be inappropriate to show "The First Emperor of China," a 40-minute Chinese-Canadian co-production, which has 2,000 Chinese army cadets in its cast and depicts Chinese authorities burying dissenters alive. The film chronicles the bloody 36-year reign of Qin Shihuang, who ended 500 years of war in 221 BC by conquering six states to unite China under his rule. He built roads, unified the written language and enslaved 700,000 Chinese to build the Great Wall, which today extends more than 3,000 miles. But the movie also shows that he burned books promoting freedom of thought and buried hundreds of intellectuals for criticizing the repression. The film's producer, Barrie Howells, said he feared history was repeating itself some 2,200 years after the events depicted in his movie. "Certain parallels can be drawn," he told Reuters. Some Canadian members of Parliament disagreed that the film should be withdrawn, arguing that it helps explain the development of Chinese culture. The U.S. premiere of the film, set for July 8 at New York's American Museum of Natural History, reportedly also has been canceled. Canada's new high-tech museum houses native art and artifacts, including a major collection of Pacific Coast Indian totem poles, and has a theme park-like History Hall, complete with costumed actors, where visitors roam through exhibits showing the settlement of Canada from whaling in the 16th Century to mining in the West.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|