An intimate scene between Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci from the film Supernova will be uncensored in Russia following backlash from the LGBT+ community.
The Russian cut of the film nixed a tender three-minute scene showing the couple unsuccessfully trying to have sex as one of the men deals with early-onset dementia.
It was reportedly “self-censored” by local distributor World Pictures, which excluded the clip when it applied for a license from Russia’s Ministry of Culture.
The film will now be shown in full after an outcry from director Harry Macqueen, several Russian film critics and the Russian LGBT+ community.
Addressing the censorship in a statement to The Advocate, Macqueen said: “We the filmmakers object in the strongest possible terms to the censorship of Supernova in Russia. It is deeply troubling that the film has been edited without our permission and against our will.
“We want the film to be shown in its original, unedited form everywhere around the world. While we recognise the pressure the Russian distributors have been put under, we will not tolerate censorship of this nature.”
“Such cowardice and self-censorship by the distributor only reinforces homophobic attitudes in society,” added the organisers of Russia’s only LGBT+ film festival, Side by Side. They described the distributor’s actions as “highly unprofessional and unethical”.
Local distributor World Pictures originally cut the Supernova scene due to concerns around Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, which prohibits LGBT+ visibility in venues accessible to minors.
According to film critic Konstantin Kropotkin, the company was worried cinemas wouldn’t show the film and that its premiere would be mired in “excesses”. It also warned critics not to use the word “gay” in any reviews.
One leading Russian critic, Anton Dolin, flatly refused to review the shortened version, arguing it would be “impossible to fully analyse and evaluate a film that will be shown to Russian audiences in a stripped-down form”.
Responding to the criticism at the time, World Pictures claimed the film was not about LGBT+ issues, but about “love, support, the pain of losing a loved one, salvation and freedom of choice”.
It subsequently submitted the request for a new distribution license to be issued by the Ministry of Culture for the full version.
Ten cinemas in Moscow, St Petersburg and beyond will screen the uncensored version of Supernova from Thursday (8 April), World Pictures confirmed to Screen. The censored version will also be taken out of circulation.