Vietnamese censors have refused to allow the release of a movie that includes scenes of gang fights in Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown even after the filmmakers removed 15 minutes of the violent scenes, according to reports appearing on several Vietnamese Internet sites. The film, Bui doi Cho Lon (Life on Chinatown Streets), had been scheduled to open in the city formerly known as Saigon on April 19, but the committee that oversees content for Vietnam's National Cinema Department found that the film promoted violence and depicted a bad image of Vietnamese society. They especially criticized the fact that police are never shown intervening in the gangland fights in the movie. Director Charlie Nguyen, a Vietnamese American, told thanhniennews.com that he had cut almost all violent and action scenes and added scenes with police but that authorities had demanded more extensive changes, insisting that the film be revised further to better suit Eastern values. Nguyen said that he simply did not have the funds to revise the film further. Trung Rwo, a writer for the website twitchfilm.com wrote that the banning of the film has caused extreme rage in Vietnam. I haven't seen anything like this before. Previously banned films came and went quietly, but Cho Lon is now the focus of a national conversation.
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.