美剧《纸牌屋》是一部暗黑风格的政治剧，讲述了南卡罗来纳州参议员Frank Underwood不折手段爬上白宫高位的人生历程。该剧中, 这名老谋深算、渴望权力的实用主义政客在一条伴着性,泪和血的道路上亦步亦趋, 并最终达到国家权力巅峰——美国总统宝座。
American TV series, House of Cards, is a dark political drama focused around Frank Underwood, South Carolina State Senator, and follows his ruthless journey to conquer the Whitehouse. It portrays a manipulative, pragmatic and power hungry politician who left a trail of blood, sex and tears in his quest for ultimate power of the nation – to become the President of the U.S.A.
The show has gained widespread popularity among audiences and has become one of the most popular shows in America and across the globe. Among its large fan base are US former president Clinton and current president Obama. According to media reports, Clinton told Kevin Spacy, who played the role of Underwood, that he believed that apart from some edgier contents, “most moments in the show were real”.
To a certain degree, the success of the show that paints American politics in a dark and corrupt picture has highlighted the political freedom and free-speech that Hollywood has enjoyed to challenge political power. It is a sharp contrast to the gagged show businesses in many authoritarian states. In non-democratic countries, movies and shows are under tight government control, and are prohibited from producing anything that touches the sensitive nerve of the top political echelon.
Chinese government has taken a strong position that arts and media is a method of social control. It bans any films that are deemed politically sensitive, or perceived as a slight to the Chinese government. Movies or shows that put a negative spin on the image of the top leaders, the communist party, or the Chinese government will never see the light of day.
Chinese movies – including To Live, The Blue Kite, and Farewell My Concubine -- that depict the lives of individuals ruined by political turmoil during the mid-20th century, were banned for being “offensive” and the directors were also suspended from their filmmaking job for a certain period of time.
Apart from tightened control over domestic content production, China has extended its crackdown to sensitive TV dramas and features imported from foreign countries. A 2006 Hollywood movie, The Departed, was banned in China for its political sensitivity, as there was a line in the movie suggesting that the government intends to use nuclear weapon on Taiwan. A 2003 movie Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life was banned for its unflattering depiction of Chinese society. Ten Years, another politically sensitive movie, which shows the plight of protesters in Hong Kong’s independence movement, has also been banned in China.
The Chinese government has taken an end-of-empire approach to censorship, and there are no rules to follow and the decision to ban a film is totally arbitrary. As a result, film directors – domestic or foreign are forced to live in a state of denial or self –censorship to make their content more palatable to the authorities’ tastes. In anticipation of Chinese censors, Hollywood filmmakers often modify political themes or eliminate content deemed inappropriate or unacceptable by the government leaders.
You would expect that a TV series filled with strong cynical views of politics, like House of Cards, would never make it to Chinese theatres or appear on TV. The hypocritical Chinese government has taken a different tune on House of Card simply because it aims at the political power outside of the county. Unsurprisingly, House of Cards has widely appealed to the Chinese audiences, who are deprived of the opportunity to enjoy a show that put their own government in such a negative spotlight.
“People in China enjoy the House of Card, because you could never ever see this kind of show about the Chinese government. It would never get past the censors,” said one Beijing fan who was invited by Sohu to discuss the new series.
我们鼓励所有读者在我们的文章和博客上分享意见。We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. Visit the FAQ page for more information.