Dead Pigs
By Eden Song With on February 05, 2018

Dead Pigs is loosely based on the true event in 2013 in China, where over ten thousands of dead pigs mysteriously floated in the rivers of Shanghai. However, the movie’s focus isn’t so much on the plot: solving what caused such an unusual scene. The movie mainly deals with a few characters, and they seem to reflect the larger society in modern China. First, there is the rural pig farmer, Old Wang, who buys the latest VR game set in the beginning of the movie. Wang also gets involved in some scam investment and loses all his money. After losing all his pigs and dumping them illegally into the river, and he seeks to pay off his debt by trying to persuade his sister to sell her house. The sister, Candy, refuses to sell her house even though one developer offers her a huge sum of money. Candy insists that her family has been living there for generations. Wang’s son, Wang Zhen, fools his father thinking that he works in some real estate, in reality he works as a waiter at a restaurant that specializes in pork dishes. After realizing his father needs to pay off his debt, Wang Zhen fakes getting into accidents in order to extort money from wealthy drivers. Wang Zhen also falls in love with a wealthy young woman named Xia, who is very narcissistic and disillusioned with a lack of purpose and meaning in life. All these characters seem deeply lost and uncertain in their own ways, despite living in a flashy, wealthy, and glamorous mega city like Shanghai. The city itself seems to be full of excitement, entertainment, massive building projects and new skyscrapers, but characters all seem to be living in an existential vacuum void of meaning, happiness, relationships and contentment. Having grown up in China and witnessing its economic growth, I have seen Chinese society evolve from relative innocence and simplicity to a society driven by greed, capitalism and pleasure. Although the Chinese economy has more than tripled in the last twenty years, the growth also brought many new social and moral problems to China. Most evidently, as pointed out in the movie, there seems to be a lack of purpose and fulfillment among many Chinese people despite growing wealthy and burgeoning cities. In other words, there appears to be an ideological vacuum that capitalism and consumerism couldn’t bring to modern China. Augustine once said, “You have made us for yourselves, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Perhaps, what China needs is not taller skyscrapers or faster bullet trains, but a sense of contentment and fulfillment that can only be found in a Person and the community He offers.

About the Author: Eden Song

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