Famous amateur film-maker, Hu Ge, has recently made a new satirical piece on the Internet censorship in China. The 7-minute piece, ‘Animal World: the Home-living Animal’ is styled as an animal-planet type of documentary and has attracted hundreds of thousands of views in a matter of a few days. The piece presents to the audience the so-called ‘home-living animals’, who are in fact China’s tens of millions of netizens.
The film portrays various common patterns of using the Internet. For instance, we see a ‘female home-living animal’ who runs a private textile business simply by utilizing her computer all day; a male flirts with his potential lover by showing off his muscle in front of the computer camera while elsewhere a naked male surfs the Internet while tucked up inside his blanket.
In the film, the ‘human beings’ are portrayed as paternalistic figures who lovingly protect the home-living species by weeding out unhealthy material on the Internet.
One form of this ‘care and protection’ is shown when a male home-living animal is on the verge of tears, when his enjoyment of an unexpectedly violent scene taken from the film Hero has been interrupted by a full-screen warning message
Han Han, the tremendously popular blogger who is famous for his witty criticism of authority, is cast in the film as a male home-living animal afflicted with ‘Compulsive Thinking Disorder’.
In the film, we see that Han finishes writing a blog, but it is forever stuck in the ‘under review’ phase until his computer finally crashes. What happens to another home-living male is far worse. After he finishes an article, a team of plainclothes police break into his room and carry him away.
The Home-living Animal has a resemblance to another amateur film, The War of Internet Addiction, which touches on the recent ban on the World of Warcraft game. But for many people, it is seen as a powerful criticism of control in general and has attracted at least millions of views. Up to now, both of these films have curiously survived the Internet censorship.