MOVIE NEWS – There is nothing new in the Chinese censorship’s penchant for reinterpreting the endings of Western – primarily American – films. But what they did with Fight Club makes the hair stand up on the back of even the most hardened film critics…
In a recent online release in China, David Fincher’s cult film Fight Club has a new ending, Vice reports. In China, imported films are often adapted to maintain the government’s views on law and order. For a reasonably intense, pro-anarchy ending to Fight Club, this was a significant revision.
In the original ending of the 1999 film (spoiler alert – in case anyone hasn’t seen it. If you haven’t, go watch it right now!!!), the narrator (Edward Norton) discovers that his toxic friend Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) – who founded the titular Fight Club and turned it into a verifiably anarchist cult – is really just his alter ego. Rather than stop Tyler’s anti-consumerist schemes, the narrator ends up destroying Tyler – and then reunites with female protagonist Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) as they stare out the window of a tower block at the buildings exploding around them.
“You met me at a very strange time in my life,” he remarks as he takes her hand.
“No buildings were harmed during the making of Fight Club,” says the Chinese government
But in the version of the film now available on Chinese streaming site Tencent Video, a black screen appears before the buildings explode. Instead of the explosions, text appears, revealing that the authorities have successfully thwarted Tyler’s grandiose anti-capitalist action.
“Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding,” the caption reads. “After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.”
It’s unclear whether the censorship was done by Disney – who currently owns the rights to the film – or Tencent Video itself, although a source told Vice that the copyright holder edited the movie before the government approved it. Screenshots of the ending began circulating on Chinese social media over the weekend.
China’s censorship policy regularly revises foreign import films to reflect Communist Party views, while Chinese-made films are specifically designed to avoid censorship. Recently, foreign imported films such as Bohemian Rhapsody (2019), from which scenes depicting drug abuse and gay romance were removed, and Logan (2017), from which scenes of violence and nudity were cut.
Chinese censors proves that they are not just good at deleting contents by adding a happy ending to Fight Club.
— Henry Gao (@henrysgao) January 23, 2022