Hong Kong-based Film Library has picked up Chinese filmmaker Li Ying's controversial documentary Yasukuni for international sales. It will be screened in Cannes market on May 15 and 20.

The documentary, about the famous shrine in Tokyo to worship the war dead in modern Japan, caused turmoil in Japanese society last month.

Four cinemas in Tokyo cancelled the release after receiving security threats from extremists. Several Japanese legislators demanded the Japanese distributor to hold a special pre-release screening to check the film's neutrality. Meanwhile, Li Ying and filmmakers who supported the release of the film have been receiving death threats.

In Yasukuni, Li intends to explore the spiritual world of the shrine and find out why it's seen as an important tradition for Japanese culture, while regarded as a symbol of Japanese militarism by Japan's neighbors such as Korea, China and Taiwan. Li, who lived in Japan for 19 years, spent ten years working on the documentary film.

'I hope to provide a perspective to see the modern history in Asia, especially Japan 's ambiguous attitude towards WWII,' Li said.

Yasukuni has been previously shown in Pusan, Berlin and Sundance. Its Japanese rights are jointly handled by Nine Entertainment and Argo Pictures.

Apart from Yasukuni, Film Library has also handled controversial films such as Blind Shaft and Blind Mountain by Chinese filmmaker Li Yang.