David Fincher, the director of Fight Club, has been sharing his thoughts on the, er, ‘new ending’ of the film that debuted in China.
Spoilers for the international cut (and now the Chinese cut) of Fight Club follow.
Chinese censors and distributor Tencent recently reversed their decision to lop off the subversive, anti-authority ending to 1999’s Fight Club following a backlash from fans since its release in the country last month.
Back in January, the story circulated that following the film’s debut in China, the ending of the film – where Edward Norton’s narrator watches capitalist America burn to ashes around him as Tyler, his warped alter-ego, succeeds in his anarchic plot – was replaced by a screen of text, stating the following:
‘Through the clue provided by Tyler, 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 lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.’
Lots of Chinese movie fans complained and the story made headlines on movie news outlets worldwide. In a rare move, the censorship decision was reversed, and now Fight Club can be viewed in the country in all of its subversive glory.
Whilst the original book’s author, Chuck Palahniuk, remarked publicly how much the censored ending now resembled the ending to his original book, David Fincher, the film’s director has now given his thoughts on the matter to Empire. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they’re straightforward and rather critical. “It’s funny to me that the people who wrote the Band-Aid [ending] in China must have read the book, because it adheres pretty closely,”
“Here’s what we know,” continues Fincher: “A company licensed the film from New Regency to show it in China, with a boilerplate [contract]: ‘You have to understand cuts may be made for censorship purposes.’ No one said, if we don’t like the ending, can we change it? So there’s now a discussion being had as to what ‘trims’ means.”
Ultimately Fincher asks the fundamental question: “If you don’t like this story, why would you license this movie? … The f—ing movie is 20 years old. It’s not like it had a reputation for being super cuddly.”
The answer of course is money, the sort of corporate hijacking of art that Fincher’s film railed against in 1999. Still, with the film’s ending fully restored and Fincher on record with his opinion, the matter can now be considered closed.
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