All go­ing up in smoke forMr and oth­ers

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By XUFAN xufan@chi­

Feng Xiao­gang’s film Mr Six was re­cently de­clared the top win­ner of this year’s “dirty astray award” by the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion on To­bacco Con­trol.

Since 2007, the an­nual­mock awards event is be­ing held to fo­cus at­ten­tion on Chi­nese films and TV se­ries that show scenes of ex­ces­sive smok­ing. Bei­jing banned smok­ing in pub­lic places last year.

The hood­lum-themed film, which was re­leased in Jan­uary to both box-of­fice suc­cess and crit­i­cal ac­claim, has 102 scenes fea­tur­ing char­ac­ters who smoke cig­a­rettes, ac­count­ing for 6.3 per­cent of the 136-minute fea­ture, ac­cord­ing to the as­so­ci­a­tion.

Last year’s win­ner Gone with the Bul­lets, a hit film star­ring Jiang Wen, fea­tures 45 smok­ing scenes.

Along­side Mr Six, last year’s hit TV se­ries Lady & Liar, chron­i­cling a fe­male thief’s ad­ven­tures in the 1930s, won the same award in the TV sec­tion this year. It has 56 smok­ing scenes, mak­ing for roughly 0.2 per­cent of the 46-episode se­ries.

The “hon­ors” have never been claimed by the win­ners.

Xu Gui­hua, se­nior vicechair­woman of the as­so­ci­a­tion, says this year’s win­ners were se­lected from the most pop­u­lar 30 films and 30 TV se­ries of last year, based on box-of­fice

The awards are given to only Chi­nese pro­duc­tions.

With 23 smok­ing scenes, The Dead End, a crime thriller, took the sec­ond slot in the film cat­e­gory this year, and war epic The Hun­dred Reg­i­ments Of­fen­sive was third with 20 scenes.

The three films to­gether con­trib­uted nearly 58 per­cent of all smok­ing scenes in the 30 films se­lected for the cat­e­gory.

Xu says stars smok­ing cig­a­rettes on screen have a neg­a­tive in­flu­ence on au­di­ences, es­pe­cially young peo­ple.

More than one-third of Chi­nese teenagers start to smoke af­ter watch­ing celebri­ties do re­ceipts or TV rat­ings. so ei­ther on the big or small screen, and the gen­eral ac­cep­tance of smok­ing among the youth in­creases mul­ti­fold when the youth watch their idols smok­ing in films, Xu says, point­ing to re­search.

“Art­works are in­spired from real life, but should pro­mote a healthy life­style. Smok­ing is harm­ful to health and is linked to many ill­nesses, such as car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases,” says Hu Dayi, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s chair­man.

China cur­rently mil­lion smok­ers.

Iron­i­cally, Mr Six’s pro­tag­o­nist dies from a smok­ing-re­lated dis­ease in the film.

The ti­tle role is played by has 300 Feng and has so far won the vet­eran film­maker three best ac­tor awards, in­clud­ing the in­flu­en­tial Golden Horse Awards of Tai­wan.

This is not the first time Mr Six re­ceived such crit­i­cism. The high-gross­ing film was rapped by the as­so­ci­a­tion for ig­nor­ing Bei­jing’s ban on smok­ing in pub­lic places. Most of the film’s smok­ing scenes oc­cur in pub­lic places.

The pro­ducer, Huayi Broth­ers, said in a state­ment that the film, which has no in­ten­tion to pro­mote smok­ing, re-cre­ates the real life of Bei­jing’s masses and their world from an artis­tic per­spec­tive.

Be­sides, the story is set at a time when such a ban didn’t ex­ist.

While some on­line users crit­i­cized Mr Six for its lat­est “achieve­ment”, a few ex­perts rec­om­mend greater tol­er­ance of pop­u­lar cul­ture that de­picts cig­a­rette smok­ing.

Yin Hong, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­fes­sor of Ts­inghua Univer­sity, says some­times it is dif­fi­cult to avoid fea­tur­ing smok­ing, dirty words or drink­ing in films and TV se­ries.

“Over clean­ing” of screen pro­duc­tions, such as a com­plete ban on such scenes, may re­sult in an ex­ces­sively de­mand­ing cen­sor­ship for films and TV se­ries, he says.

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