Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight, the tale of a black man’s struggle with his sexuality from childhood to adulthood was one of the most celebrated films of last year, with it’s realistic and sometimes brutal depiction of three stages in Chiron’s life as he wrestles with his homosexuality and growing up in a rough and drug-centered neighborhood in Miami. However, some of those graphic depictions have been deemed too graphic for Indian audiences, as shown by the modifications that a user on Reddit released earlier this week.
The original version of the film is nominated for eight Academy Awards and has received a great deal of attention since its release in October of 2016. The film’s Indian release date was February 17, 2017 and the version released includes multiple cuts to the original content, such as muting curse words like ‘bitch’ and ‘motherfucker’ where they appear in the film, as well as cutting out Chiron’s pivotal sexual encounter in the film. All in all, the censor board will be removing a total of 53 seconds, but those 53 seconds are very crucial to the raw reality of the film.
The censor board has also decided to add to the film, inserting what they call an Anti-Smoking Disclaimer & Health Spot to the beginning and middle of the film, as well as running a scrolling message on the screen whenever smoking is depicted. This will add 2:20 minutes to the film over all. Censorship politics aside, these cuts and additions will have significant drawbacks for Indian audiences in witnessing the power of Jenkin’s vision.