“Chinese Give Rave Reviews to ‘Interview'”
The New York Times, December 27, 2014, p.A4
“Even before Americans began flocking to theaters on Christmas Eve to see ‘The Interview’ — Sony Pictures’ comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un — Chinese film fans by the thousands were downloading mostly pirated versions of the movie on domestic video-sharing websites. By midday on Friday, more than 300,000 people had seen the film and the reviews, by and large, were favorable. … In one sign of the enthusiasm for the film, whose theatrical release was initially held up after a hacking attack on the studio, ‘The Interview’ scored an 8.0 rating on the Chinese Internet movie database Douban, with more than 10,000 people posting reviews. In their comments, some people acknowledged having not seen the film, but wanted to show their support for what many approvingly described as an act of subversion against North Korea. Although Beijing is Pyongyang’s only significant ally on the world stage, many ordinary Chinese have mixed feelings about their government’s relationship with North Korea, which has been called as close as ‘lips and teeth.’ Some have come to see a reflection of their own condition in North Korea’s poverty, repressiveness and over-the-top propaganda. Online, some commentators have begun to refer to the North Korean leader as ‘Fatty Kim the 3rd.'”
Quickie Analysis: Satire has a long tradition of making the overtly political “safe,” which may be why some regimes are so humorless. Or maybe Chinese viewers just have really curious taste in movies :-).