The New Festivalof Auteur's Films (Nov 28- Dec 3) in Belgrade was supposed to open with Lou Ye's Summer Palace but the screening wascanceled after intervention from the Chinese Embassy.

However, after the opening-night screening was cancelled, the festival board has responded to negative reactions from general public and the Helsinki Council for Human Rights and decided to bring back the print of Summer Palace from its way to Tallin. "After getting assurances from most of the print and electronic media that there is no censorship in Serbia, we have decided to organize two screenings of Summer Palace," announced the Board. Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously accepted the Chinese Embassy's demand and suggested the organisers of the festival not to show the film because of "the highest national interests". The latest announcement of the festival board concludes: "Taking into account that the festival does not follow state policy, and in accordance with democratic orientation of our country, we decide to show the film because of massive interest of Serbian cultural public." The screenings will be organized as soon as the print of the film is returned to Belgrade. The controversy erupted after the festival had bowed to earlier pressure. "I wouldlike to inform you that Summer Palace is banned in China and to ask you to do your best to removeit from the festival, taking in account our good bilateral relations,"wrote Lieu Xinquan, the culture adviser at the Belgrade Chinese Embassy in anopen letter to organisers of the festival.

The film, whichfeatures some material from the Tiananmen Square uprising that had not been approved by Chinese government,was shown at the morning combined press screening, and all the tickets foropening night had been sold.

"BorislavAndjelic, selector of the festival, Dinko Tucakovic, president of thefestival's board and myself have received more than 60 calls from the BelgradeSecretariat for Culture and the Ministry of Culture, demanding that we do notscreen the film," says Igor Stankovic, executive producer of the festival."It is impossible that in 2006 a European country gets a ban on a film. Ithad been shown in Cannes [where it screened before being clearedby Chinese officials] and at the Ljubljana International Film Festival and theonly print in the festival circuit will leave Belgrade to go to Tallinn Black Nights FilmFestival."

Instead of Summer Palace, the festival opened withCorneliu Poromboiu's 12:08 East OfBucharest, another among 16 films in competition, which also includesMartine Doyen's Komma, Sarah Watt's Look Both Ways, Andrea Arnold's Red Road, Ming-liang Tsai's I Don't Want To Sleep Alone, PaoloSorrentino's Family Friend, AntonioNuic's All For Free, Ivan Vyrypayev'sEuphoria and Marco Bellochio's The Wedding Director.