In Brief

Fifty Shades of Grey: Vietnam releases a sex-free edit

Vietnamese officials cut all the sex scenes from Fifty Shades, resulting in a film that's 20 minutes shorter

Censors in Vietnam have released a radically cut version of the erotic film Fifty Shades of Grey – with all the sex removed.

The film, based on EL James's best-selling novel, first opened in February and has grossed at least over $500 million in global sales. 

News that the film was to get a cinema release at all was met with excitement by many film-goers in Vietnam, which is known for its conservative cultural views.

The kinky story had already proved too much for some countries: Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia have banned Fifty Shades from their theaters, calling it "more pornography than a movie".

The Independent reports that there was breathless speculation in Vietnamese newspapers about how much sex would be shown in the film. Some cinemas even built "Red Room" displays in their lobbies so that visitors could take risqué selfies.

But excitement soon turned to disappointment and anger when the film was finally released. In total, around 20 minutes of screen time has been cut by the country's censorship committee, removing all sensitive scenes, so that only a few kisses remain.

The lack of erotic content has frustrated viewers. The Independent quotes one moviegoer as saying: "Everyone was shouting and complaining at each scene that followed an obvious cut. They should have had a notice to say it had been edited. No one knew what was going on, especially if they had no idea about what BDSM is, or if they hadn't read the book."

Vietnamese authorities are known for their strict censorship laws, which mean that no "image, sound, dialogue or scripts which are obscene, depraved, incestuous or contrary to national fine customs and traditions" can be shown. Last year a Vietnamese television station dropped the US TV series Sex and the City from its schedule after pressure, even though it had edited the episodes to make them tamer.  

But the outcry over the censoring of Fifty Shades has been more intense because of the film's particularly high profile. Angry moviegoers have posted their grievances online along with streams of the uncensored version.

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