Hoping to continue its record-setting box office pace, The Hunger Games opened in China this week. The film, which combines themes from the Minotaur myth, gladiatorial combat and the devastation of war-torn Iraq, evoked strong responses from Chinese social media-goers, some of whom saw it as a valid depiction of the current Chinese political situation.
In the film, described as “the most moving and thoughtful of recent films” by a prominent Chinese television personality who highly recommended it, teenagers are forced to fight to the death as “tribute” to a failed rebellion against the “Capitol” many years before.
Opening a week after the sensitive date of “June 4,” the film includes the line “I wish I could show that they don’t own me.”
This led one online commentator going by the moniker “spider,” to remark, “How did that pass the government’s censors?”
Having to struggle against a bloody and treacherous web of intrigue is similar to our own country, so I feel that this was no mere teen flick.
— user light blue jade
A flood of comments appeared on Chinese movie review websites.
Several praised the film and sympathized with the plight of the teens: “It has been a long time since I last cried at a movie. When Katniss shows the hand sign of farewell to the people of District 12, I took it as the poor people’s cry for injustice and unfair treatment. It was shocking to see.”
A more somber tone was taken by “colin:” “Too bad that the teens did not die, sparking a revolt against the dictatorship. Perhaps that’s also a regret existing in reality.”
According to “light blue jade:” “Having to struggle against a bloody and treacherous web of intrigue is similar to our own country, so I feel that this was no mere teen flick.”
The film makes clear the contrast between the well-off residents of the “Capitol” and the subsistence standard in the “Districts.”
“Icy leaves,” in Guangdong, remarking on this, wrote: “Go see it and afterwards you’ll know that everything is controlled by politics, just like society today where those with the bucks get the respect!”
Conservative media in America viewed the film as indicating the horrors of big government that can oppress people to the point that they cannot produce and be productive.
This sentiment was echoed by “A Fan of Garfield” in Guangdong: “A searing critique of today’s cruel reality.”