Zheyan Ni: Chinese Box Office Hit Flaunts Wealth, Angers Communists
Zheyan Ni is a contributor at Ministry of Tofu. You can learn more about her on our About page.
Tiny Times was released on June.27. It’s based on the director Guo Jingming’s best-selling novel published in 2007. The movie portrays the urban lives of four college graduates in Shanghai, their friendship, relationships and careers. The movie’s conspicuous depiction of luxury coats, handbags, cars and penthouses has brought the movie popularity and condemnation.
Chinese Communist Party official mouthpiece, People’s Daily, thundered “if material satisfaction is the life goal and consumerism becomes the criterion of value judgment [in the film], then Tiny Times literally narrows people’s mind.”
Columnist Raymond Zhou offers scathing comments that “the flaunting of beauty and wealth in the film is sick”; he only sees “greed”.
On social media, the reaction to the movie is more complex. Those who had read the novel were disappointed. This user wrote on Douban, a website devoted to movies and books
“The movie is not even able to tell a whole story. Can it be called a movie?”
Other comments show that the conspicuous display of materialism makes the movie not only unreal, but also immoral.
This user writes “the girls in the movie are enslaved to money and successful men; they are bitches. The popularity of this shabby movie is the result of the moral decay.”
Many noted the striking gap between the luxury life in the movie and their own modest lives; they believe the movie is very unreal.
This user on Douban used irony to mock the characters in Tiny Times :“What kind of shitty life it is to carry LV, Prada, Longchamp handbags and to wear Chanel, Gucci everyday?”
Others find it distasteful, because the real rich don’t flaunt their wealth.
This social media user contends that “the real wealthy class is not labeled by luxury and money, but self-restraint, generosity and vision”.
In China, people do wear LV, Prada, Chanel. But meanwhile, most struggle to make a basic living. China’s wealth gap is among the highest in the world. Perhaps the criticism of this film and the film itself are reflections of the harsh reality in today’s China.
Video: Zheyan’s take on the social debate surrounding Tiny Times is featured on LinkAsia