The version to be released in mainland China is 15 minutes shorter than the one that premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February and a secondary storyline has been removed. However the director and producer say this should not prevent the audience from understanding the central ideas of the film.
Earlier this year, the film went through a tough censorship process to gain permission to participate in official competition at Berlin. Some censors believed the film was too dark and too negative about contemporary Chinese society. After a month-long negotiation, the filmmakers agreed on the 15-minute cut in exchange for a greenlight to attend Berlin.
However, at the Berlinale, Lost was premiered in its full version instead of the edited one approved by Chinese censors. It is understood that the Chinese authorities decided to punish the film's producer Fang Li because of this 'defying act' and the China release of the film was put on hold for a while. Fang Li was requested to write a report of self-criticism in order to regain permission to release the film.
The film's international sales, handled by France 's Films Distribution, have been much smoother with the film having been sold to Thailand, Korea, Spain and Austria, where it will be released in its full version. The film's Hong Kong and Taiwan release will be handled by Hong Kong-based Filmko Entertainment.
Set in contemporary Beijing, Lost revolves around two couples' entangled relationships. Tony Leung Ka-fai, Fan Bingbing, Tong Dawei and Elaine Jin head the cast.