Chinese Internet users were surprised to discover a new version of Fight Club, whose censorship significantly altered the ending.
Releasing a feature film from the United States in the Middle Empire is always a way of the cross. If some blockbusters likeAvengers : Endgame or Fast & Furious 9 have made their headlines on Chinese soil, passing censorship is not easy. Many directors or actors among the most bankable in Hollywood are, for example, synonymous with a ban on distribution in China for their participation in films on Tibet, Taiwan or addressing issues such as homosexuality.
When censorship does not simply prevent films from being released in the Middle Kingdom, it forces studios to change certain sequences. Asian secret agent taking a bullet in Skyfall will return home alive, and Kate Winslet’s chest against a feverish young Leonardo DiCaprio also disappears in the 3D version of Titanic.
Among the long list of feature films altered by the Chinese regime is the subversive Fight Club which did not fail, on the occasion of its release in China in SVoD on the Tencent Video service, to make Internet users laugh (or scandalize) with its new ending.
The final panel of the film Chinese version
The film thus ends with a text on a black background indicating this: “Thanks to the clues provided by Tyler, the police quickly understood the plan and arrested all the criminals, also successfully disarming all the explosives in the buildings. After the trial, Tyler was sent to a mental hospital for psychological treatment. He came out in 2012.”
Exit the song Where Is My Mind of Pixies, and this spectacular final shot where the narrator (Edward Norton) holds Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) by the hand after having killed his double Tyler (Brad Pitt), while buildings explode, taking with them the debts of American citizens , and marking the beginning of Tyler’s anarchist plan. In the Chinese version, the police and the system win, and Tyler is arrested without having been able to carry out his plan, blithely ruining the uninhibited and anarchist enjoyment of the end of the film.
“We are not going to screw up the system, we are going to be responsible people and exemplary employees”
We do not yet know if the censorship comes from Chinese government services or the Tencent Video platform., on which Fight Club is available. And if the film in its modified version obtains the average score of 9 out of 10 on the Douban site, it did not fail to make some Chinese spectators howl, most of whom had already seen the film by David Fincher in pirated versions found on the Internet.
Fight Club is not the only classic to have suffered a sad blow of surgery. The Chinese version of Lord of War saw Yuri Orlov, protagonist played by Nicolas Cage, surrender and confess his crimes with the same old-fashioned artifice, namely a text on a black background concluding the feature film. Censorship also saw the disappearance of the mention that member countries of the United Nations (including China) were the first arms traffickers.