Feng Xiaogang blames China’s low-quality films on a ‘trash audience’ – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for June 19, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

On June 18, in a high-level forum held by the Shanghai International Film Festival, veteran Chinese film director Feng Xiaogang 冯小刚 pointed his finger at Chinese audiences for their bad taste in film.

“Speaking of crap films, why are there so many of them in the Chinese film industry? Is it because the audience is also crap?,” Feng asked (in Chinese), using the term for “trash” (垃圾 lājī). “There must be some kind of connection. If Chinese audiences don’t buy into these crap films, they won’t be produced. But somehow these crap films usually generate more in box office sales than others.” Feng also offered his opinion on young male actors in China, accusing them of being too feminine. “I personally don’t get why they have such a huge appeal to the market. All we see is those over-photoshopped images of them,” Feng added.

Feng’s remarks sparked a controversy on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Many were enraged by the director’s arrogance. One commenter wrote (in Chinese), “He is way too out of line. I paid to watch some of his films before, which turned out to be pretty bad, and now he’s saying I am one of those crap audience members watching crap films?”

Aside from his long career as an award-winning director, Feng also has a reputation for strong opinions. The last time he was in the news was November 2016, when he published an open letter to the real estate and film tycoon Wang Jianlin 王建林 on his official Weibo account, protesting the decision of Wang’s company, Wanda, to limit screening of Feng’s film I Am Not Madame Bovary 我不是潘金莲.