Oppenheimer Censored In Some Countries

Moviegoers in India and Indonesia are reporting that in some countries, a little black dress has been digitally added to Florence Pugh during nude scenes in Christopher Nolan's acclaimed biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer has been censored in some countries -- using a methodology that's kind of ironic, given some of the hype around the period drama. In the movie, Black Widow star Florence Pugh plays a key role as psychiatrist Jean Tatlock, with whom J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) had an affair during his marriage to Katherine "Kitty" Puening (Emily Blunt). Tatlock and Oppenheimer appear in a number of intimate scenes in the movie, and in some scenes, Tatlock is depicted as nude. But not in countries like India and Indonesia, where Pugh is seen wearing a little black dress.

Except, Pugh never wore the dress. The scenes were modified to appease censors, and the dress was apparently added using CGI. That's ironic, considering the lengths Nolan reportedly went to, to minimize the use of CGI in Oppenheimer

The Independent has a pretty good rundown of social media reactions, with numerous viewers from India and Indonesia saying their version featured the dress, and some saying they didn't even notice it.

Oppenheimer has also drawn some criticism for its handling of a sex scene between Oppenheimer and Tatlock: in one scene, as Oppenheimer struggles to perform, Tatlock straddles him and the two go at it while she reads a passage from the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred text in Hinduism. Unsurprisingly, some of the more ardently conservative voices in Hinduism have called the scene an "attack on Hinduism." The criticism does not appear to have reached the mainstream, being largely confined to right-wing nationalist circles, but it's not surprising that they were offended: imagine the furor in the U.S. if Nolan had done the same thing using a Christian text. Such scenes do exist in American movies -- freedom of speech certainly allows for it -- but almost never in a movie of this size, where there is so much money at risk if a protest breaks out.

On a lighter, but related note, here's Nolan, on the film's use of practical, versus CGI effects, in a recent issue of Empire magazine:

"I mean, I've done a lot of explosions in a lot of films. But there is something very unique and particular about being out in a desert in the middle of the night with a big cast, and really just doing some enormous explosions and capturing that. You couldn't help but come back to this moment when they were doing this on the ultimate scale, that in the back of their minds they knew there was this possibility that they would set fire to the atmosphere. It was pretty amazing to engage in that kind of tension." 

Here's the film's synopsis:

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer is an IMAX-shot epic thriller that thrusts audiences into the pulse-pounding paradox of the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it.

The film stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Emily Blunt as his wife, biologist and botanist Katherine "Kitty" Oppenheimer. Oscar® winner Matt Damon portrays General Leslie Groves Jr., director of the Manhattan Project, and Robert Downey, Jr. plays Lewis Strauss, a founding commissioner of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin. The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Atlas Entertainment's Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan.

Oppenheimer is filmed in a combination of IMAX® 65mm and 65mm large-format film photography including, for the first time ever, sections in IMAX® black and white analogue photography.

Oppenheimer is in theaters now.