In China, ‘Fight Club’ ends with a police victory. Photo: Fight Club
fight club gets a completely different ending in a new online release in China, where imported movies are often edited to show that law enforcement, on the side of justice, always trumps the bad guy.
David Fincher’s 1999 film originally ends with the narrator (Edward Norton) killing his split personality Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). With female lead Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter), he then watches all the buildings explode out the window and crumble, suggesting that Tyler’s anarchist plan to destroy consumerism is underway.
The exact opposite occurs in the edit of the same film released in China. In the version on the Chinese streaming site Tencent Video, the explosion scene has been deleted. Instead, viewers are told that the state succeeded in frustrating Tyler’s plan to destroy the world.
“Thanks to the clue provided by Tyler, the police quickly figured out the whole plan and arrested all the criminals, successfully stopping the bomb from going off,” a caption read. “After the trial, Tyler was sent to an insane asylum for psychological treatment. He was released from hospital in 2012.
It is unclear whether the ending was changed by self-censorship or by government order. Tencent Video declined to comment. A source familiar with the matter said the film was edited by the copyright holder and then approved by the government before being sold to streaming sites for distribution. The film’s Chinese publisher, Pacific Audio & Video Co., is a subsidiary of the public broadcaster Guangdong TV.
Disney, owner of the film’s production company 20th Century Fox, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
fight club was only shown in Chinese cinemas during the Shanghai International Film Festival, although most Chinese fans have probably watched pirated versions of it. It is not known whether the Chinese cinema version has been changed. The film received over 740,000 reviews and a high rating of 9 out of 10 on film review site Douban.
Screenshots of the new ending went viral on Chinese social media over the weekend and offended many people. fight club fans who hailed the original ending as a cinematic classic. Some say censorship is the reason Chinese viewers have preferred counterfeit copies of foreign films.
“There’s no point in watching this movie without this scene,” one person commented on microblogging site Weibo.
“Probably Ocean 11 would all have been arrested. The Godfatherthe whole family would end up in jail,” another person quipped.
China has a rigorous censorship system to ensure that all television programs, dramas and films shown to the public reflect what the Communist Party considers to be correct aesthetics, morality and ideology.
Domestic films would carefully design their plots, dialogues and casting to avoid anything that would trigger censorship. And foreign films that are approved often suffer substantial cuts because some scenes are deemed too violent, sexually explicit or subversive.
In some cases, the films have a completely different storyline or ending when shown in China.
American detective film lord of war ends with its protagonist, an arms dealer played by Nicolas Cage, escaping prison and returning to arms dealing. It also says the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, including the United States and China, are the biggest arms suppliers.
But the Tencent Video version, which is about 30 minutes shorter than the original, replaces the ending with a new caption, saying that the arms dealer “confessed to all the crimes officially charged against him in court and was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment”.
Hong Kong producers, who have made some of the most influential Chinese-language films, sometimes create a more censorship-friendly version of a film just for the mainland Chinese market. As well as leaving out nudity and gore, mainland versions often show gangsters being arrested or gruesome crimes committed when Hong Kong was still a British colony.
When the 2003 Hong Kong film naked ambition was released on the mainland, for example, the original story about the rise of poor pornstars was changed to a story about how Hong Kong police and Chinese police worked together to suppress the porn industry. porn.
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