Lost Indulgence navigated a complicated series of schedules and cancellations before it was allowed to screen abroad. Originally scheduled to premiere at the 2008 Hong Kong International Film Festival, the film was pulled at the last moment by its producers due to failure to gain Chinese censor approval. For many in the industry, the decision to withdraw the film was fallout from the decision by the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television to ban director Lou Ye and producer Nai An for improperly screening their 2006 film Summer Palace at the Cannes Film Festival without permission. Others saw the heightened concern as a result of public criticism and controversy surrounding Ang Lee's sexually explicit Lust, Caution and Feng Xiaogang's allegorical war story Assembly. The withdrawal of the film was also seen as a sign of the growing influence that the Chinese Film Bureau has had on Hong Kong productions (or in this case co-productions).
Lost Indulgence missed a second scheduled screening at the Udine East Asian Film Festival, when a screening was again canceled due to failure to obtain official permission. Upon this second cancellation, critics speculated that producers were taking extra care before the Olympics rather than seeing the delays as a clear cut case of censorship.
Despite these setback, the film eventually did get its international premiere at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival on April 25, 2008.
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