HONG KONG – "Queen's biopsy public" has been criticized by some western audiences and critics gently pedal Freddie Mercury's relationships with men. But during film screenings in China, references to the singer's sexuality have been totally suppressed.
These holes in the plot have angered a generation of young moviegoers, far more progressive than the country's censors.
A censored version of the film, released in China last weekend, has only three minutes less than the original. But he omits a crucial scene in which Freddie tells his fiancée that he's not straight and at the scene in which his lover, Jim Hutton, is introduced.
A celebratory scene in which the band members play in women's clothing has also been cut off from the release in China.
These changes have not been forgotten by the Chinese public, many of whom have felt watching the film in cinemas that something is wrong.
Sun Jing, a 26-year-old office worker who saw the film with friends in Shanghai on Saturday, said she was quickly immersed in music and intrigue while noticing that some points in the story were not resolved and noticed several cases where the subtitles did not quite match what the characters said.
Censorship was the cruelest, she said, when singer Queen told others that he had AIDS. The dialogue was suddenly silenced in the censored movie, and no subtitles appeared.
"Since I'm looking at a biopic, I want to see a real person," Ms. Sun said. "The contents of his life should not be inexplicably removed."
Lu Zhan, 22, who was hoping the film would showcase the power of live music to a wider Chinese audience, said the omissions were misleading and disrespectful for the group.
"On the subject of L.G.B.T. problems, they completely misled the public, "she said about the censors, adding that she feared that the decision to project a clean version of the film would discourage gay people in China.
Rami Malek, the actor who plays Freddie Mercury in the film, was also censored on a Chinese streaming platform in his speech after winning the Oscar for Best Actor last month. When he said in his thank you speech: "We made a film about a homosexual immigrant who lived his life without any excuse," the Mango TV platform replaced "homosexual" by "special group" under Title.
When asked why gay content was removed from the China release of "Bohemian Rhapsody," a spokesman for 20th Century Fox, who produced the film, said in an email that the studio did not want to see it. had made no comment.
Those who wanted to know what they lacked turned to the Internet, where compilations of uncensored clips attract more and more attention to the scenes the censors were trying to suppress.
And the screening of the censored film comes at a time when gay rights activism is gaining importance in China.
"I think a lot of people are used to avoiding certain topics, especially if it does not affect their lives," said Yang Zhiyuan, 22, a digital media arts student in Beijing. "But when these things become topics of conversation, people will be forced to think of them."
Yet, some Chinese viewers said that they would not watch a modified version of the film.
"In principle, I refuse to watch this type of grossly censored film," said Li Yang, a 24-year-old Beijing fashion writer, who decided to avoid "Bohemian Rhapsody" after his friends told him that the viewing experience was hectic.
Ms. Sun, who said she did not know the Queen group before watching the movie, added that she had hoped to understand Freddie Mercury as a full-fledged character.
"As a young independent person, I do not need anyone to control the scenes I can see and the ones I can not see," she said.