Gay love scenes cut from Rocketman in Russia

Legion Media
Online users in Russia mock the distributor’s decision to cut scenes from the new Elton John biopic.

Rocketman, which tells the story of how Elton John became Elton John, caused a stir in Russia on the day of its premiere. Not for what was in it, but for what wasn’t.

The film was released in Russia without any gay sex scenes or references to drug use, preventing viewers of seeing the first kiss between the on-screen reincarnations of Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin. Also gone is a fully nude scene of the two men in bed together.

Neither did the closing caption escape the chop. The phrase “You are doomed to live alone” does echoe the original version that relates how the singer ended up finding – and is now raising two children with – his true love.

Instead, the Russian ‘translation’ states that John has been sober for 28 years and does charity work.

The film’s Russian distributor, Central Partnership, explained that the cuts were done for legal reasons. “The film was edited to bring it in line with Russian law,” a TASS spokesperson said.

Although Russian law does indeed prohibit the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors, the original Rocketman does not violate it. The film’s ‘18+’ rating means children aren’t allowed to see it in movie theaters (at least in theory).

But the Russian Ministry of Culture, which many hold responsible for censoring the film, issued a denial. Officials explained that the cut scenes were “the sole decision of the distribution company”.

While everyone was playing pass-the-responsibility, Russian Internet users were having a field day.

1. All scenes of kvass soup cut from Rocketman

2. In the Russian version of Rocketman, Elton John finds a wife and joins United Russia.

3. How unsure of your own orientation must you be to cut scenes of Elton John kissing another man?

4. The movie distributor cut Elton John’s words in Rocketman about how he found love, because Elton John’s finding of love did not comply with Russian law.

5. I read that “bourgeois obscenities” were removed from Rocketman and it turned into a biopic of Lev Leshchenko [a patriotic Russian singer].

6. As ever, the government is hyping a film it doesn’t like by cutting all the interesting bits. Way to go guys, this reverse psychology will make young people far more positive about LGBT people. You retards... denying what’s always been and always will be #LGBT

7. What’s the point of the movie then? All these scenes are an integral part of Elton’s life. How long does it now last? 30 minutes? The mind boggles at what’s happening in Russia

8. Homosexuals have more rights in Russia than they do in Rocketman.

9. What’s up? Russian censors cut obscene scenes from the biopic Rocketman? Big deal. You can watch them here! No thanks required.

10. The Chechen authorities stated the release of Rocketman in Russia was a provocation and complained it’s no longer possible to take your kids to the movies because of such films.

11. If Rocketman has an 18+ rating, then my knowledge of Russian law is clearly lacking. I don’t understand which article of which code outlaws scenes of gay sex and living happily

12. You’re not going to bite my head off, are you?

- No, only females do that.

13. It’s not good when the state decides what citizens can and can’t see in movies. It seems people aren’t capable of appreciating artistic value if “superfluous” details are not removed. And to hell with it if the cut scenes are key to understanding what drives the main character

14. The singer himself condemned Russia’s censorship of the film.

The cinema chain Pioneer wants to show the film uncensored and has already put a proposal to the distributor.

Click here to read about censorship in the USSR.

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