For its broadcast in China, Fight Club amputated from its final scene

David Fincher’s film, available on the Tencent vod service, has been censored. Chinese moviegoers are wondering about the complicity of 20th Century Fox.

In the films of the Middle Kingdom, the final word is not always that of the director. The most subversive American classics are now paying the price, like fight club , David Fincher’s 1999 film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Recently available on the Chinese SVOD platform Tencent Video, the feature film has been previously altered. Not by watering down the violence of the film, or by crossing out this or that ambivalent passage, no. But by “correcting” neither more nor less its final. A rewrite that goes badly with Chinese moviegoers.

And for good reason. Instead of the beautiful and explosive sequence imagined by David Fincher to close fight club, the Chinese public can thus discover an astonishing cardboard epilogue, absent from the original version of the film. The text tells “the rapid intervention of the police and the effective arrest of all the criminals, thus preventing the explosion of the bombs”. As for the main character, he is mentioned as having been sent to psychiatric treatment, where he will remain for several years. A far less invigorating end than the series explosion and collapse of several buildings, headquarters of financial companies whose destruction accomplishes the deep anarchist purpose of Fincher’s hero.

Anger of Chinese moviegoers

“What has been done on Tencent Video with fight club shows us that they are no longer satisfied with censoring scenes but are now also attacking the script”was indignant a user of the Chinese social network Weibo. “It is a scandal”, also commented a movie buff directly on Tencent’s streaming platform. The Chinese giant refused to make the slightest comment on the censorship of which the film was the object, just like Disney, owner of the 20th Century holder of the rights of fight club. It is therefore not yet certain on which side of the Pacific the censorship was carried out.

Adapted from the eponymous novel by Chuck Palahniuk, the corrosive and violent fight club had greatly divided critics at the time of its release. Not at all convinced by its nihilistic and self-destructive material, the American critic Roger Ebert had in his time described the film as “fascist”. “Anarcho-nauseous, debecting and dangerous”for The Figaroscope, “sub-Nietzschean molasses” for Telerama, the feature film has nevertheless become in the space of a few years a “cult film”, both in Europe and the United States and in the rest of the world. .

However, China exercises very strict control over foreign films shown on its territory, both in theaters and on its video-on-demand platforms. Some of the films authorized for release are thus regularly subject to censorship, such as Bohemian Rhapsody , Bryan Singer’s Freddie Mercury biopic. Released in 2019 in the country, the production had been amputated by nearly three minutes of content referring in particular to the homosexuality of the singer. The special Friends, the reunion was also purged of scenes and performances by Lady Gaga, BTS and Justin Bieber, without further explanation. Finally, other feature films simply do not come out, as was also the case with the Disney film The Eternalsbecause of the political positions of the Chinese director Chloé Zhao.

SEE ALSO – “Genocide” of the Uyghurs: the French resolution “ignores reality”, according to China


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