Fight Club, a cult classic film directed by David Fincher. Released in the year 1999, based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, was extremely controversial upon release.
The film has once again made headlines in recent times, gaining attention from movie junkies across the world, who made an outcry in social media upon hearing news on the drastic altercations made by Chinese streamer Tencent Video to the ending of the film.
In the original cut, which starred Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter, the film ends with the narrator (Norton) killing off his imaginary alter ego Tyler Durden (Pitt) who was on a mission to remove debt from the world, carrying out an anti-capitalist plan. But despite the narrator’s effort to stop Tyler, he couldn’t stop the bomb explosions— this scene in the movie suggests that Tyler’s revolt to take down the capitalistic society has begun.
This iconic scene was replaced with a blank screen in the Chinese version, followed by a written text: “The police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to a lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.”
The article of faith of China’s film censorship is that criminals must always be punished on screen and that societal peace is maintained.
Chuck Palahniuk, the author took it to twitter where he wrote sarcastically: “This is SUPER wonderful! Everyone gets a happy ending in China!”
Have You Seen This Sh*t?
This is SUPER wonderful! Everyone gets a happy ending in China!
— Chuck Palahniuk (@chuckpalahniuk) January 25, 2022
Human Rights Watch also posted it to twitter calling the petty move as ‘Dystopian’ and tweeted: “The first rule of Fight Club in China? Don’t mention the original ending. The second rule of Fight Club in China? Change it so the police win.
— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) January 25, 2022
Tencent Video has declined to comment anything related to the matter. It’s not clear whether the new version was edited by the order of the government to comply with the censorship rules.
But the new creative angle given to the film can be seen heavily ridiculed and flagged on social media by outraged viewers who had previously seen the pirated copies of the original.
This certainly is not the first time for a Western movie to be censored cut by China and most probably won’t be the last but to entirely change, alter the ending scene of a movie was something new.