Singapore's film censors have lifted the ban on Stanley Kwan's2001 gay-themed drama Lan Yu, which local distributor Festive Filmsplans to release one week after Kwan's latest film, Everlasting Regret,on October 13.

Gay-themed films havetraditionally been banned outright in Singapore. However, Lan Yu has now been rated R21, thanksto the revised film rating system introduced last year. "Under the newguidelines, films which explore homosexual themes in a non-exploitative mannermay be classified under a higher rating," said Media Development Authorityspokesman Koh June May.

Festive Films' managingdirector Low Yuen Ping believes it still makes business sense to release thefilm after a four-year delay: "When the film was banned, it was not availableon VCD or DVD. There are still people who haven't had the chance to see thismulti-award winning film."

Festive aside, other Singaporeandistributors are also looking at gay-themed films. Cathay released Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin in July and has also acquiredManuel Gomez Pereira's gay marriage comedy Queens.

However, Taiwan's teenage gay comedy Formula 17 remainsbanned under the new rating system. Festive failed to lift the ban in an appeallast year.