NEW YORK, June 1. /TASS/. United Kingdom’s legendary singer and songwriter Elton John on Friday condemned the Russian distributor’s decision to cut certain scenes from his biopic, Rocketman.
"We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today. Paramaount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton’s extraordinary life, warts and all," reads a joint statement by Elton John and the film’s authors, posted on the singer’s Facebook page.
According to the statement, the move was "a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people."
"We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world," the statement reads.
A spokesperson for the Central Partnership company, the movie’s distributor in Russia, said on Friday the film had been changed in accordance with Russian legislation ahead of its release in the country. Russian movie critic Anton Dolin wrote on Facebook that gay sex and drug scenes had been deleted from the movie.
Olga Lyubimova, who heads the Russian Culture Ministry’s cinema department, denied that the ministry had put forward any demands in that regard.
"I don’t see any problem, and there were no demands on behalf of the culture ministry, because you know perfectly well that numerous Western and Russian films are related to the problem of drug use. You can regularly see this on TV, in cinemas, so it would be wrong to say that were are engaging in any form of censorship. None of us has seen this film, because none of us attended the film’s premiere at the Oktyabr cinema yesterday," she told TASS.
However, she added that films should correspond to Russian laws regarding pedophilia, ethnic and religious hatred and pornography.
Rocketman, written by Lee Hall and directed by Dexter Fletcher, covers Elton John’s artistic career and shows then Reginald Dwight study at the Royal Academy of Music and storm the world's music scene. The movie stars Taron Egerton as the legendary musician. It will be released in Russia on June 6.