WHEN was the last time you saw a Chinese animation? For certain you have not seen one like this: with a twist of modern-day Chinese politics, Liu Jian’s Have a Nice Day completely deviates from the more classic Chinese animations. This gangster thriller has even been referred to Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994) – the latter was the film that first introduced Tarantino to the Finnish public at the MSFF.
The focus of Asian thriller- and action movies has long been shifting towards South Korea (see. Train to Busan) and even to mainland China. Have a Nice Day is an extreme representation of this trend with its dark humour and its cynical comment on China, flirting with capitalism: its subjects include Brexit, Trump, Steve Jobs but also Mao.
The animation that starts with a quote from Tolstoi’s Resurrection is set in a poor city in South China and the story is built around a bag that gets stolen – a bag that contains a million yens. The main characters are faithful to the genre: a young driver who needs money for his girlfriend’s plastic surgery, the don of the mafia, a killer, a gangster etc. Misunderstandings and surprising plot twists cheerfully cause havoc in this provocative, pop-cultural and postmodernist blend of unrestrainedness that extends to philosophical dimensions. (TM)