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June 28, 2017

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Shanghai readies to show off all things Bond, James Bond

SHANGHAI -- An exhibition on fictional British spy James Bond opened in Shanghai Thursday, just weeks after the Communist government's censors cut parts of the latest film in the franchise, "Skyfall."

But Neil McConnon, lead curator of "Designing 007 — Fifty Years of Bond Style" said there had been no censorship of the show, organised by London's Barbican.

"We certainly didn't edit at all for a Chinese audience," he told AFP. "We have encountered censorship before in some exhibitions, but not in this exhibition."

Parts of "Skyfall" — partly shot in China's commercial hub — proved too sensitive for the authorities ahead of its release in January.

A scene showing prostitution in Macau, a special administrative region of China, was removed, as was a line in which Bond's nemesis mentions being tortured by Chinese security agents.

A section in which a hitman takes out a Chinese security guard in a skyscraper in Shanghai itself was also cut.

The Shanghai exhibition, backed by a commercial company, is being mounted at the privately owned Minsheng Art Museum.

It is an expanded offering from previous shows in London and the Canadian city of Toronto, incorporating more material from "Skyfall" including the boat used by Daniel Craig as Bond to enter a Macau casino.

In a room dedicated to villains, the display also includes an outfit worn by Michelle Yeoh playing Chinese spy Wai Lin in "Tomorrow Never Dies" — who as a cover story claimed to be a reporter for China's official news agency, Xinhua.

Visitors can see a model of Bond's Aston Martin DB5, the bowler hat used as an airborne weapon by the character Oddjob in "Goldfinger," and the orange bikini worn by actress Halle Berry in "Die Another Day."

But Chinese audiences are more familiar with recent Bond films, through both theatrical release and pirated DVDs, than the classics of the franchise.

"It will be perhaps a different experience for a Chinese audience who won't have the same shared experience and the same resonance as audiences in the U.S. or Europe," McConnon said.

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