Unedited version of gangster flick banned in Vietnam goes viral online

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 A scene from "Bui doi Cho Lon" (Life on Chinatown's Streets). The action movie, which was banned from distribution in Vietnam on June 7, has gone viral online.

One month after being banned from distribution in Vietnam, a full unedited version of a violent action movie about gangs in Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown has gone viral online.

An 87-minute video clip claiming to be the full version of "Bui doi Cho Lon" (Life on Chinatown's Streets), directed by Charlie Nguyen, first appeared on YouTube Friday morning.

The clip carries the logos of the film's producers and distributers.

Although the clip was removed from YouTube around noon, it had already been uploaded to different servers and distributed to numerous websites as downloadable links. The links have been shared on various social networking sites.

Speaking to Thanh Nien, a representative of Galaxy Cineplex one of the film's producers said the uploaded clip is an unedited version of the movie, and that they have filed complaints with related agencies, asking them to identify who uploaded it.

The uploading represents "a violation of Vietnam's laws and damage to the prestige as well as economic well-being of companies that produced the film," the spokesperson said.

The National Cinema Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which banned the film from being distributed, including screenings, has yet to comment, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported Saturday.

The ministry's inspectors said the problem of illegal uploading on the Internet should be tackled by the Ministry of Information and Communications, the newspaper reported.

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In the meantime, Nguyen, the director, told the press that he was "shocked" and "painfully saddened as if his child were being killed," upon learning of the situation.

He said in addition to issues related to intellectual property and profits, the spread of the unedited version of his film will cause "dangerous consequences."

Viewers will assess the film's quality based on the video clip, which is a "very bad draft version," according to Nguyen.

The production crew spent lots of effort and money to complete the work, but after watching the clip, audiences will suspect its quality and the crew's efforts, he added. "It will lead to undeserved disappointment among movie lovers."

Calling those responsible "ill-informed" and "ruthless," the Vietnamese-American director said he hoped they would soon be identified and punished in accordance with relevant laws.

Produced for US$500,000, the movie was scheduled to premier in Vietnam on April 19, but a censorship committee with the cinema department objected on the grounds that it was too violent.

After being reedited with 15 minutes of fight scenes cut, the film was resubmitted.

However, on June 7, it was announced that the film would be permanently banned from every means of distribution. 

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