UPDATED, 10:08 AM: Amazon has moved to clarify reports Wednesday that Brit indie flick God’s Own Country had sexual scenes censored on its service, following tweets sent by the film’s director expressing his surprise at discovering the cuts.
The streamer noted that the film is a Prime Video Direct title, and as such is uploaded directly by the distributor, which in this case is Samuel Goldwyn. A source explained to Deadline that the sexual scenes likely triggered a level of age rating (its version of Mature) on the service, which could have restricted the film’s reach and may have been behind the distributor’s apparent decision to make the edits. It appears director Francis Lee wasn’t informed of any changes.
Deadline has reached out to Samuel Goldwyn for further comment.
PREVIOUSLY, 9:06 AM: Francis Lee, the UK filmmaker whose 2017 romantic feature God’s Own Country was a breakout indie hit, has claimed that his film has been “censored” on Amazon Prime U.S.
The Brit took to Twitter to say that the version available was “not the film I intended or made” and that he was asking Amazon to investigate. He later posted a follow-up tweet (since deleted) suggesting that it was the intimate sex scenes in the film – which depicts a relationship between a young farmer played by Josh O’Connor (now of The Crown fame) and a migrant worker played by Alec Secăreanu – that had been altered against his wishes.
“I’m interested if any of you have evidence of @PrimeVideo (Amazon Prime USA) censoring naked women or intimate/sex scenes within heterosexual stories on their streaming service? Or if they just censor queer stories?” Lee wrote.
Deadline has asked Amazon for clarity on the situation.
God’s Own Country debuted at Sundance in 2017, winning the world cinema directing prize. It went on to be BAFTA nominated and secure a U.S. release with Orion Pictures.
Lee recently directed the Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan romance Ammonite, which was expected to debut at Cannes this year before the fest was canceled by coronavirus.
Here is Lee’s tweet: