Miss Puff’s Goldfish Bowl: Commercial or Existentialist Art?

A popular video currently being watched on the internet in China right now is the animated “Miss Puff’s Goldfish Bowl”, a philosophical art video made by a collective called “The Bright Eleven” and sponsored by Chevrolet. It tells the story of the eponymous Miss Puff, a modern-day Beijinger who admits to searching for true love, [spoiler] and yet when she accidentally encounters a man with ideal qualities who falls in love with her, she ultimately rejects him after a series of passionate encounters depicting implied nudity and public sex.  Although this man does everything possible to please Miss Puff including fulfilling her greatest spoken wish, it is still not enough to grant Miss Puff her happiness.

What at first seems nonsensical becomes an artistic statement when this video is treated as a existentialist work.  [spoiler] Miss Puff’s greatest wish is to keep a fish in its natural state forever; however, in reality she doesn’t want that but instead what it represents: her ideals that have over time become her illusions.  When the “bubble” finally bursts she then also rejects her boyfriend, the ideal man that she never asked for in the first place.  While it may be interpreted that Miss Puff is choosing to be unhappy, by looking at it from an existentialist’s world view we see that from making this her rational choice in an irrational world, Miss Puff is empowered by the ability to choose; put simply, she is “not choosing to be unhappy, but happy to be choosing.” And by rejecting a ideal man who is rich, caring and attentive and who has a car, a house and a good career it appears Miss Puff is not choosing the materialism and traditional ideals he represents.

[spoiler] By having her illusions destroyed, Miss Puff experiences absolute freedom but also horror and anguish in the void that remains.  What prevents this video from veering off into bleak nihilism is the video’s parting message of hope: “Actually, in this city many people are just like Miss [Puff], looking for true love, between possessing someone and being free of restraints.”  Also spoken at the end is “Miss Puff’s goldfish bowl is empty, waiting for love”; if this were to be examined from the point of view of existentialism, we see that Miss Puff has gotten rid of all external values in order to find the happiness that lay within; if true love does exist, she must first love herself, and for that her bowl must be empty.

A Chevrolet Cruze, the new model from the video’s corporate sponsor, can be seen throughout the video driven by the male character.  If the video is taken as a commercial to promote their new product, it can be seen that this car isn’t used in a positive fashion.  [spoiler] Rather, the Cruze is ignored when a police officer is ticketing it to show the man’s attention to Miss Puff; as well, the Cruze is used as a place where it is implied Miss Puff and the man have sex in public; also, the video advocates the use of public transit as shown in the scene where Miss Puff and the man have sex on the subway.

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The short film (~18 minutes):

From PC Auto:

The Best Adult Erotic Animation In China: Miss Puff’s Goldfish Bowl

“To learn what kind of thing love is is to teach someone how to live and die under the consensual agreement of a love contract [ie to hand one’s fate over to whom you love].” [A passage from a poem by Yuan Haowen (aka Yuan Yishan)] It is believed that at present time there is already no one who would adopt these words as their own motto for love. That was one period of time, just as this is one perspective of romantic love. At the present time, even more people than before are likely asking: what is romantic love? How do the concepts of freedom and possession mutually exist in romantic love? How do we seize it? After watching “Miss Puff’s Goldfish Bowl”, I have found the solution!

Actually, in this city [Beijing] there are many people like Miss Puff who are caught somewhere  in-between freedom and possession and are searching for real love.

I’d like to say for once that genuine romantic love is just like how an ordinary woman would act: during times of loneliness, they will always believe that sometime and from somewhere he [an ideal man] will always appear.

Confronting an icy cold room, I hope that there is a fish inside my goldfish bowl.

By chance, she meets him, a [Chevrolet] Cruze driver.

This is fate, one little accident, bringing them slowly together.

For two single people, it appears to be easy to become a couple.

~This, you already understand. Falling in love like lightning.

This, you also already understand… this is what is convenient about having a car.

The goldfish, it swims freely. Can it always be like this, happily swimming, free and unrestrained?

While in love, you will discover that around you, there is only him, that in life, you will have already lost yourself, and that the freedom of romance has gradually disappeared.

As if to resemble oneself, this goldfish preserved in formalin [a clear solution of 40% formaldehyde that includes a small amount of methanol], is just like how I am right now.

Miss Puff’s goldfish bowl is empty waiting for love.

The content [of the video] is very daring, there are a lot of passionate scenes… even car shaking and subway shaking [the sex scenes]. However, after watching it, it generated a deep, sympathetic response in me. We are all searching for love, but all along we have forgotten the essence of love. Only when we are lonely do we see what is wonderful about love, yet when we have it we yearn for the freedom of being single. Fortunately, however, I still believe in the existence of love. It may be at waiting for me at the next street corner. Perhaps the many experiences we have had are all to prepare us for the next one. Opening QQ [a popular Chinese instant messaging service], double-clicking her avatar photo, I’ve begun my next act of searching [for love]. Just posting my feelings after watching “Miss Puff’s Goldfish Bowl”, so everybody go easy with the bricks [go easy on your criticism]~~ Also, did anyone notice that the main female character looks like [pop icon/singer] Faye Wong?

Comments from PC Auto:

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我在看视频:

Relations between men and women are apparently this way; this film is very realistic and I praise it!

只为车疯狂:

Casual [relationships]~that move very quickly [towards sex] is too common.

xuzhengyes:

The [Chevrolet] Cruze [car] became the most important part of this cartoon. [implying it is a commercial]

存了硬币:

This cartoon is done pretty well, I like it.

Comments from Youku:

泽彬1:

So Category III [an adult-only classification in Hong Kong] but so boring/pointless.

蒲A4:

Quite well made; after watching it my heart felt saddened. I’ve heard the subway scene was Line 4.

动漫女王佳:

I feel rather strange, I feel that it isn’t that realistic, that it is rather abstract, and also life isn’t so one-sided.

妖精坟墓:

[This is] very representative of the white collar life: debaucherous, no goals, daydreaming, self-absorbed.

宝宝V莹莹:

To be honest, I didn’t really get [the film]………..

feas:

This indeed was shot on location in Beijing… not bad, I can see the neighborhood of Guomao as well as the “Big Pants” building [CCTV Headquarters], just as I can see the area where my work is located.

琪﹥琦:

This looks like a Category III film no matter how I look at it.

刘wanwan:

Very good [film].

tempersitu:

Really not bad, the fusion of reality with animation is not bad, and the story is very good.

小宝子一世:

Clearly is a Chevrolet commercial~~~

ClazziquaiA:

Why is it I feel that Miss Puff’s appearance is very similar to [pop icon/singer] Faye Wong?

liuqinxiaoniu:

And I thought I was the only one who thought that [Miss Puff looked like Faye Wong], ha ha!

花椰菜小华:

This animation is NB, the idea and mood very skillfully uses the technology…

天目一个:

Be like that living fish then! Don’t need a reason! Don’t need to greet [people]! Don’t have any possessions! No definitely destination! No worries! No looking back! Just have to leave behind two checks for swimming! If you have water, then swim!

仙人鸣人11:

Extremely disgusting.

Comments from Tudou:

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诱惑n1:

When all is said and done, what is true love? This kind of feeling is completely lost. Today’s society has changed, people have changed, everything has changed.
I once pursued true love until I was left with nothing in the end, women are often realistic/practical.
Just like that sentence: “These topics are more suitable when discussed inside a BMW.” [inferring an infamous line said by model Ma Nuo on reality/dating show Fei Chang Wu Rao aka “If You Are The One” in English, in which she said “I’d rather be crying in a BMW than to be riding on the back of your bike laughing”]
A man who doesn’t have financial capital can’t find his own ideal of true love.
Unless you are that kind of person who is content to be ordinary, often those with dreams and ideals will long to find something even better.

。青阳:

I extremely like this kind of feeling.

Comments from Sina:

Anonymous User from Guangzhou, Guangdong:

The feeling is very good.

Anonymous User from Heze, Shandong:

A beautiful story and plot.

Anonymous User from Xi’an, Shanxi:

Exceptionally creative, and is well thought out.

Anonymous User from Yinchuan, Ningxia:

[The protagonists] look very similar to Faye Wong and her husband.

Comments from Flash 8:

游客:没关系:

I won’t comment on the artistry/technique,
but from the scenes to the story, it’s all greasy and oily.
I personally feel that greasy and oily colors applied to a dark story will necessarily result in a dirty color.
The impression it gave me was that it is not clean, and it turns out that was the case.

王彬:

I feel that the imagery is very beautiful, the story very complicated, and the technique employed here is very original, even with a bit South Korean illustration style. If I may write honestly to the commenter before me, if you are going to state your opinion, you need to state your individual feelings first. Don’t improperly/recklessly criticize from your own perspective, [because] every story’s style is not the same. You can say [this is made by a] specialized department for making commercial advertisements but that is its most commercial portrayal. Don’t only accept traditional animation, that is just a foundation. The grease and the oil [you may see] is in pursuit of portraying life in the city. You can say Picasso’s art is good but can you say why it is good? Can you say in what way he is abstract? Don’t Baidu [a popular Chinese search engine] it, it’s just like that; I feel [this film is] very good, its various aspects all very satisfactory, and matches life in the city.

Your ideal man. chinaSMACK personals.

Written by terroir

Terroir is a gentle soul who doesn't enjoy sunsets but does like the company of those who do. He says no to Tia Carrera, yes to Bruce Lee, and walks the thin line between the top of a still, calm lake and below it, where it looks even calmer.

  • Wago

    Thumbs up, love how the animation integrated so well with the real locations. Beijing/China needs more of this stuff.

    • James

      I also liked it.

      I have met too many people like Miss Puff – who refuse to examine their lives.

      If they examined:
      1- what they want
      2- why they want it
      3- what they’d have to give up to get it

      They’d:
      1- have to spend time thinking
      2- work hard, thinking logically
      3- have to sacrifice some things to gain others

      It’s much harder work than most people want to do, especially when shiny distracting toys abound in this wondrous 21st century.

      • crackedbamboo

        We think of toys in retrospect of our childish desires.
        They become the exigencies of our hard work as adults.
        But there is nothing ‘wondrous’ about our new century. Logic can only ketchup.
        Puff is a cliche. She begs examination from horny fools and mindless shits. That’s the point: confusion, arousal, consume.
        You’re right: “it’s much harder work than most people want to do”
        Sadder still: we don’t need to.

  • anon

    This is probably the most risque film I’ve ever seen to bear the name of the China Film Group Corporation.

    Superficially, I think the girl’s a typical “I don’t know what I want” bitch and the guy went from somewhat charming to downright creepy when he showed up with the fish preserved in formalin.

    The subtitles are wrong in a few places though.

    Seriously, the film was quite creative and I’m impressed with the Chinese filmmakers who made it. It’s a promising direction, especially since it employs the kind of cliche symbolism and imagery that manages to still make sense for the vast majority of ordinary viewers rather than become so abstract that no one but snobby “artistic intellectuals” get it.

    Thanks chinaSMACK for sharing these Chinese short films.

  • justin

    The animation is definitely NB, but it seems a little pretentious for my tastes.

  • John

    Coolness. It’s pretty sad that some people have used words like “disgusting” to describe this movie. Get a life! This is a great film.

  • lee

    uhhh this was lame!

    i like the creativity put into the actual look of it…animation with real images. how exactly is this a chevrolet commercial? i spent more time looking at miss puff’s hideous eyes that take up half her face than looking at the car in this. this film is very unrealistic. for one…having sex on a subway is not love! seems to me miss puff is jsut another ho looking to get laid and not ready to settle down.

    • crackedbamboo

      Did you say Chevrolet? Yeah, nothing about this “film” reeks of a Chevrolet commercial. Personally I was distracted by miss puff’s hideous hands to be thinking about Chevrolet. So how could it ever be a commercial about Chevrolet? Know what I mean, Chevrolet?

      • cracked bamboo,

        Art (especially in China) is commonly viewed as a luxury and as something valuable (look at the past art craze here in which Chinese art was largely purchased as an investment).

        However, this “Miss Puff” video comes to us a the low cost of FREE to anyone with a internet connection. How do you expect an artist or cartoonist (if you differentiate between the two) to make back their production costs? For that matter, everything in China is pirated – how does any original-produced video make any money if it just gets sent out on Youku for free?

        This corporate/artist merger is the most promising thing I’ve seen in ages, and I consider myself and the world at large (including the PRC) fortunate to have it to debate over.

  • Yeah, this is part of Youku’s crazy 10 short films which will then be made into one long film project. They’ve been releasing a new one every week. This one looked interesting, but had to stop watching, was getting a bit risque for the workplace…

  • rafael

    Love it! Nice animation.

  • ShanghaiSteve

    Seems to be an advertisement for smoking.

  • crackedbamboo

    I had high expectations after reading terroir’s intro to the film. Watching it, though, makes it clear that both reach too far, and come up short. Just like Beijing’s modern urban landscape—one that feeds not only Puff’s appetite for existential angst but also her penchant for shoes—it is stylistic decadence and innovation that are exalted to hide a society slowly bereft of any real human connection, leave aside love. The film’s sincerity and restrained sexuality doesn’t excuse the fact that Puff’s life, like her eventual epiphany, are flaccid. In fact, her biggest weakness as a character is in failing to recognize that the media’s use of human clichés to love (they give me such headaches – fou!), only mask her own superficiality as a silly vixen with the heart of tin, and an infantile longing to swim freely like the poor little goldfishies.

    And yet this is the film’s one truth, albeit unintentional: it’s ok to daydream about abundance and wealth, as long as you have a 3-second memory. To be fair, I’ll agree that Puff is “not choosing to be unhappy, but happy to be choosing”; it is a clever play on an ultimately silly film, and an admirable attempt to snatch a victory from the jaws of failure. Nothing supports this view as much as the ending– the luxury of limitless options that children learn to reject love for its own sake and discover the power of entitlement. It’s no coincidence we are left at this playground of passage seconds before Chevrolet’s logo is emblazoned across the screen. But have no fear for gentle Puff, ‘tis no more yielding but a dream. Given China’s bottomless pond of men, phones, pubs, jewelry, underwear and taxidermists, at least Puff can channel her newfound epiphany towards her next car purchase.

    • Sirlogic

      Fantastic analysis, bamboo.

    • crackedbamboo,

      I am more than pleased to hear anything I have written has raised anyone’s expectations (or anything else); so please allow me to state my opinion on the film.

      What I hoped to do with the intro was present the idea that this film should be seen as an existential conceptual art piece, and I think we both agree on that. (I tried to cram a term paper’s worth of psych theory into two paragraphs) And, I’ll agree with you that as a piece of art, this is not very good. The animation is sloppy, it’s heavy-handed, the symbolism is not in the least subtle, the narration (esp the ending) has a choke hold on a narrative that shouldn’t need such guidance, and it’s dumbed down to the Earth’s bedrock. So yeah, anyone can complain about it get away with it.

      But, besides the fact that this is very popular now (some 2 million hits as part of a Youku promotion as chinageeks said) I posted this because I think this is important, because though it is a bad piece of art, it is undeniably a piece of art. This is phenomenal because

      1) these days you won’t see much in China that is produced that is unpopular and “inharmonious”. This film has a message that is not received well and misinterpreted (if at all), and yet is still made and provided to the public at large.

      2) that Youku and Chevrolet has endorsed the making of such an unconventional film. That Youku has allowed this much nudity and sexuality on its site as well as Chevrolet allowing its promotional product to be used in such a non-promotional manner (basically, the car is a symbol of the materialism and traditional values Miss Puff rebels against). This is case where an corporate entity handed over full artistic licence to where it should go – to the aritist.

      3) that you and I are having a discussion about aesthetitics caused by watching the content of this video. As art goes, that’s a really simplistic definition but one that escapes so much here in China.

      Should the unorthodox and untraditional be praised? Not needlessly so. But this subversive piece of defiance does something extraordinary here: it challenges people and their old perceptions; and as you know, nothing gets challenged here, things just stay the same as they have for 5000 years.

      You say that Miss Puff has abandoned this guy for the next guy, but I’ll provide an alternate explanation: Miss Puff isn’t waiting for another man to come along (since this guy is perfect already); though we can say she is waiting to love herself, before she accepts love she is waiting for one of these things to happen:
      freedom of speech
      democracy
      women’s rights
      Western values
      respect
      modernization
      a re-union of the “Friends” TV show
      Whatever, it’s interpretation, just pick an argument and go with it. Just saying: though this piece of art isn’t well done, what still it manages to do with its funding, contractual and societal restraints and 18minutes in the country of China is amazing. That’s why it’s here.

      • anon

        Art is definitely something to be interpreted, but in defense of the film, I wouldn’t say it “isn’t well done”. It’s reasonably decent for what it is, even if the influences are somewhat transparent for certain people. About the only thing I’d take issue with, technically, is the sound editing. Much of the dialogue sounds like it was recorded off a computer mic, with noticeable static and background noise.

        Sorry, no “deep” analysis here.

        • crackedbamboo

          Anon, we are all aware of your distaste for anything too “deep” from previous posts. But we should all appreciate your clarity about the film’s technical failures: sound, noise… computer mics, etc.

      • crackedbamboo

        From your lips to China’s ears…
        I respect your mention of multiple interpretations in the original article. To be clear, I don’t know what art is, so it’s impossible for me to agree whether we might agree. But “narrative guidance” is exactly what this thing needs. I also don’t know who the “Earth’s bedrock” may be, so I hesitate to argue that anything can be dumbed down.
        Actually I think the thing is genius. Sexy, bold, innovative, good gas mileage, you know. Bunch of youku hits, I can only imagine. But when did popularity (in any country) become a benchmark for art, let alone subversion?
        And ultimately who cares if there are subtle rejections or in-film references to the brand. Point is, while viewers get lost in “waiting for things to happen”, Puff and film serve their purpose: I’m confused. Buy a Chevy.
        For what it’s worth, I wholly agree that the film is worthy of a spot on the site. Very least, I appreciate that your opinion found a way to follow.

        • Your “I’m confused. Buy a Chevy.” is just about as genius of a advertising slogan as “Perfect for idiot”.

          Dude, as chinaSMACK comments are usually devoid of empathy or reason, I wanted to tell you that those are the nicest words anyone has ever said to me here; I just might put this up as my Facebook status. If it was said to me, that is; I could be cribbing anon’s fire.

          And since everyone’s is washing their hands of it, I might as well too; I just did this story for the boobies.

          • crackedbamboo

            Sorry I should have been clear that last comment was for you.
            Facebook sucks. China prefers like you to wash its hands of frivolous things. Thanks for your article dude.

  • What, GM Shanghai hire the P.R. Chinese version of “Mad Men? Also surprised they badged the Cruze as a Chevy in P.R. China – given the long history of Buick.

  • The YouKu link has been disabled, wonder why :-\ From the stills, looks intriguing but one has to wonder why such a specific (and brand-new model) car was featured. Anyway, commercial or not, seems to be preaching to the choir. Urban loneliness, intense sex mistaken for love, what does it all mean, etc., etc. Typical post-80s generation searching for their place in this world PSA.

  • mrnightcat

    Thought this was quite lovely from start to finish. It certainly had a few pretentious parts but it was incredibly refreshing, creatively done and the fact that it just provokes decent discussion in places such as here is a quality.

    Agreed with what a few others are saying. If this is an advert for Chevrolet, it’s done in the most brief and subtle way possible (except for the logo of course) – if you just watched the video without reading that it was sponsored by Chevrolet, do you honestly think you could catch the car’s significance on your first viewing? You’d probably just think it was someone simply copying the car design at first if you did.

    Reminds me also of how relationship-focused OCD can present itself in a relationship.

    • crackedbamboo

      That’s true, perhaps Chevrolet executive sponsors are too naive to anticipate the millions of viewers who would fail to notice the car brand or logo in the film after the million times they saw it in print?

      • mrnightcat

        Just to ask, were you agreeing with me there, or saying something sarcastic? If it wasn’t sarcastic, then I sincerely apologise, no hard feelings. I can’t quite tell from the wording.

        If it was sarcastic, I was just saying that the car scene passed quickly, and that on someone’s first viewing, they might not notice the particular brand or design. Not everyone anyway – if I just saw that film without any knowledge it was sponsered by Chevrolet, I wouldn’t recognise the car nor pay particular attention to it until I see the logo at the end, and think “oh”. They would of course see the logo at the end – I wasn’t referring to that. That’s what makes it obvious.

        Sorry that I didn’t make it clear in my post about the logo. I was talking about first seeing the car. First reactions might be that the artists just copied the car design, if the viewer actually did recognise the model. Otherwise, to someone who hasn’t concentrated much on Chevrolet cars or adverts (i.e. me), the car’s design has nothing that would stand out to me.

        • crackedbamboo

          I should apologize. I was being sarcastic. I often forget that cynicism translates poorly in text. Needless to say, your post reminds us of the brand twice. Think about this going viral.

          My point is that Puff’s sponsors are well aware of our propensity to be confused. Chevrolet marketing executives count on both our stupidity and our intelligence. Retarded? Fuck you, buy a Chevy. Confused? Fuck you, buy a Chevy. Skeptical? Fuck you, at least you’ll remember and repeat our brand: Chevrolet.

          Point is: the brand is packaged with the dialogue about the firm. Extra points if you talk about it in terms of art.

          Cat, I never meant to be a dick. But I am growing ever so tired of tits and cars.

          • mrnightcat

            I see what you mean now about your posts before. No offence taken, not to worry.

            I guess I just saw it in a different way – although it did succeed in creating positive images of the brand in my mind, after I saw the logo that is, but I didn’t really think about it much while watching it. Yeah, it’s twisting you in a way to go for their company, without pushing their cars in your face – rather taking the route of showing you an interestingly presented, yet somewhat plain animation. It gets people talking about the car.

            I know my tone here is different to my other posts – I’m just seeing it in a different light with regards to the advertisements. Closer to your point of view. But still, I really enjoyed it as a standalone piece of sexy animation because it’s refreshing, fun, and the fact of it being sponsered doesn’t have meaning to me – I’m no potential customer, and can just watch it without thinking much about that.

            I probably sound a bit confusing here. I can’t quite agree with myself on the best way to write my opinion here. Doesn’t matter much though, maybe I’m writing nonsense, haha.

          • cracked bamboo,

            you totally have it in for this video; all the same, I do want to support you in saying that doesn’t make you a dick.

            It seems you hate commercialism, cars and tits – which means you really hate this video. I’ve said my other arguments about the artistic quality of this video, and now I’d like bring up something else: how does culture and art exist in in the current social climate of China? Easy–it doesn’t exist. Right now, (authortative) capitalism reigns over everything – and that means commercialism, cars and tits.

            So what’s an artist to do? Where do you get the money from? How do you reach an audience uninterested in anything you have to say unless it is C, C, and tits? You do what Michelangelo and da Vinci and thousands of other artists have done – you get a patron. Why do you think the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is so awesome? The corporate daddy of its day, the Vatican commissioned it. Just like how this video is done.

            Dude, don’t think of it as commercialism insidiously seeping into art; rather, it’s the opposite. And, as I’ve been trying to point out, in this case the “art” side wins, wins big.

            Lastly, tired of tits? Are you tired of living?

  • Name (required)

    This film is so sexy.

  • Shanghairen

    I didn’t notice the brand of the car as I guess I was paying attention to the story. Anyway, it’s a nice video. I wouldn’t use the word “subversive”, since that implies it’s political somehow. I don’t think the party has any problem with people speaking out against materialism or misguided searches for love (or cartoon nipples).

    I always ask Chinese people what they think of love. They say it only lasts a few months or a couple years at most. In the west I think we define it differently. Most interesting is the Triangular Theory of Love, which defines 3 components to love: intimacy, passion and commitment. When Chinese people think of love, I think they’re only thinking of passion, whereas westerners think love can last a lifetime, but just the passion dies after a few years. We still define commitment and intimacy under the umbrella of love, whereas Chinese don’t.

    • bobiscool

      Oh, but I feel quite the opposite. In fact, exactly the opposite. Just look at the divorce rates in America.

      The only reason for the rise of divorce rates in China is because of Western influence.

  • mankouzanghua

    Interesting analysis, but not sure I agree with the assessment that to find true love she needs to first love herself. To me her whole problem is self-absorption, as symbolized by the solitary goldfish (whose entire world inside the bowl consists of “me” and …. “me”). She thinks love is about having someone who would be willing to do anything for her, when in reality it’s finding someone who she would be willing to do anything for. Love exists nowhere on a continuum “between freedom and possession.”

  • Of Canada

    Can somebody post this on Youtube? It’s taking too long to Load off the Chinese sites.

  • Cigarettes_R4_Losers

    This whole thing seems to be a commercial to promote
    Cigarettes. GM probably has a deal with the tobacco companies.
    There is smoking all through it, as well as her name Ms PUFF.

    Its completely irresponsible in todays day and time.
    Especially knowing what that crap is Proven to do to a person.

    • Mr. Puff

      泡芙 = pao fu (Miss Puff (泡芙小姐) in the video) is actually a name for a Chinese delicacy, small pastry with a sweetish whipped cream alike filling not so much hinting of smoking.

      • bobiscool

        Regardless, I think Cigarettes has a great point.

        I think it’s silly to look at this and write it off as a blatant advertisement for Chevy. Regardless of its intentions, I think art is art, and though I’ve not watched the video for i am in a library and it seems not wise to watch it here, from the summary and comments here, I feel that it is indeed a noteworthy piece of art, one that is perhaps revolutionary in China.

        Who cares if it’s advertising chevy or not?

    • It’s very true that they smoke a lot in this video, but I think they get it from watching a lot of French films that have all-white backgrounds, existential angst and smoke like chimneys.

      泡芙is transliterated from the English “puff”, so it doesn’t have any inherent Chinese meaning of its own. Being such, it takes on whatever meaning Chinese apply to it from English, whether it be “puff pastries” or as I believe in this place, “a bubble” (as in the illusion fish that get popped–like a bubble–in the end). Transliterating hasn’t gotten that complicated in which Chinese will transliterate the verb “to puff”.

      Also, besides the point, Chinese girls tend to have many meaningless names in both Chinese and English, and so a name that can go in both languages is a boon.

  • eattot

    hmm, good.
    this is exactly the personal life i have now.
    when i lost everything i got my first love, truly unconditional love. when i am doing better and better now, i only find a bunch of fuckers which are full of shanghai.
    they think they fucked women in fact women just used them. they think they are good at playing cheap tricks, in fact nobody is fool.
    if they have some money then they judge you as digger, if they are poor, they are tight. they try to deal with non-local girls because they do not live with parents and lonely. who will love any sucker like this?
    so, women should love themselves more, say fuck off to those trash.

    • Huh?

      Let me get this straight. You lost everything and found unconditional love?
      But now you are better for it because Shanghai is full of fools?
      I’m missing something here. Sounds to me like you’re lonely and bitter.
      I wonder what exactly you expect to accomplish with more of your self-love? Clearly it’s not introspection.

  • Not a local people

    All the debate aside…anyone know where I can DL this? Tried using vid. cap. plugins but only partially captures.

    • Foreigners… downloading Chinese intellectual property?
      The wave has turned.

      Um, to answer your question, I don’t: as this is kind of recent, it’s mostly just in the Chinese interwebs I gather, it hasn’t made its way over the wall to Youtube yet. Sorry. But, you can say you heard it here first!

    • Not local people either

      I was able to download it as three files. You should see three .flv files in whatever you are using to download the video.

      The file sizes are 28,943KB for section 1, 28,013KB for section 2, and 12,217KB for section 3. I’m able to watch the 3 sections as individual videos. If you have video editing software like Adobe Premier it should be trivial to join the 3 movies back together into one long video.

  • kenny

    the preserved fish is not meant to be taken literally. Miss puff could not accept the real fish that could die of natural causes as well as the “fake” fish on the necklace that is not lively enough, which only leaves only a lifeless stuffed fish that appears to be real and can never die……….but that’s not what she wants either at the end.

    the different fish signifies the different kinds of love she is choosing.

  • This cartoon was really good, and made it easier for me to understand the type of person like Ms. Puff.

    They want happiness, and true love, and to be an individual.
    But what she doesn’t understand, is that to get those things, you first have to completely give them up.

    1. You let go of your current level of happiness in order to achieve newer, more satisfying happiness with your partner.

    2. You let go of your ideas of love, and learn what true love is about through commitment. People don’t seem to realize that love is a choice. The feeling comes and goes, but overall it is an every day choice that you make.

    There is a quote from an old song, “Love is not a feeling, it’s an act of good will.”

    3. You let go of who you are NOW as a person, in order to become a better person with your partner.
    Your goals become their goals, and their goals become yours.

    You are individuals, but you are also a team.

    These are things that you have to experience to learn. How can you learn them if you are stuck the way that you are? Unwilling to change, and grow?

    I think that she finally realized that the dead preserved fish was the perfect imagery of what she was striving towards. But because this realization was so shocking, she immediately rejected it. -Rejecting her new lover at this moment also, because he showed her the truth.

    There are many more ideas I have about this animation. It is rife with hidden meaning.

    This would be good for a film class to dissect, that’s for sure! :D

    Whew! Two thumbs up from me. I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets a few awards. ( If it hasn’t already, that is. ) :D

    Side note: How is this “for adults only”?
    They would have gotten away with WAAAAY worse things in the U.S. if it was labeled “adults only”.
    The ratings here for 16 and up cartoons have plenty of boob shots – with nipples. 0_0
    And sadly, there weren’t any boobies in this cartoon. Hmph.

    This seems more like it would be labeled 13 and up to me.
    (If it were made in the U.S.)

    I mean, we even make PG films with “implied” sex scenes, terrible language, and lots of violence.

    There wasn’t a single swear word in this cartoon.

    For example:
    Jaws
    Gremlins
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Beetlejuice
    Mommy Dearest
    Wizards
    Watership Down
    Airplane
    Poltergeist
    The Graduate
    Sixteen Candles (F-word AND boobs)

    And those are all OLD movies…..

    Maybe it’s just the culture in China? I am honestly interested in why this was coined “adults only”. Interesting…

    • Hey Ruby,

      I respect your own interpretation of the film, but I wanted to point out that though Miss Puff admits to wanting true love, at no point does she really make a show of accepting “the man” as her love, true or otherwise. It’s him that wants her from the beginning and showers her with love and affection; meanwhile, she’s along for the ride and accepts material gifts and a “9 and 1/2 weeks” type make-up sex in the rain, but does she actually love him? I think in a Chinese-cultural standpoint, the question becomes “Why shouldn’t she love this rich guy who loves her? What’s wrong with her?”

      The sexiness of this video is noteworthy because this type of risque scene isn’t seen in China, ever. Not on TV, or any of the movies unlike the ones you’ve referenced (glad to see some love for Long Duck Dong, recently referenced in Date Night); people here just work hard and love their country – or so it is said..

      Why this film is so important is because such a sexy video (for China) has been made available to so many people and is endorsed by an entity like Youku and Chevrolet (yeah, because companies and money make the rules). This raises the bar, or lowers it if you’re not into cartoon sex.

      I think too often Chinese think of art and culture as being from somewhere else, just as the ideas of passion and sex (as a fun thing); so to see this cartoon featuring a Chinese cast and the Beijing skyline and subway with public sex and blowjobs must be a shock to Chinese who would associate this with, say, Japanese anime (which doesn’t look like this at all, no tentacles).

      • Wow, you made some really good points and observations!
        I didn’t know that this film short would be a first for China, that certainly makes more sense now. :)
        I definitely applaud them for taking such a bold step forward!

        And very true – it is him that wants her from the get-go. I had forgotten that they said in the beginning how highly she was sought after. I guess that makes it harder for me to fully understand her point of view.
        This is why I liked this film – so mysterious and intriguing!
        So many different ways to interpret the story! :D

        Now, I am a die hard Japanese anime fan. So I also loved seeing the difference in artistry within the cartoon.

        The sense of pride and unity – or even just a common way of thinking, is what I admire so much about these countries.
        ( I also realize that I tend to see the world through rose colored glasses. )
        But yes, to make a long/crazy/disjointed comment short:
        I completely concur.

  • Eidolon

    Crassy materialist cultures produce crassy materialist people. China is worse than the US when it comes to crassy materialism, because in the US people at least have the benefit of an ideological if not religious foundation. In China, Marxism is a paper tiger that’s been dipped into the snake oil of modern capitalism. It didn’t even have a chance, really, to take root before collapsing into incoherence. In the shadows of such shaky moral foundations, there is naturally only hedonism.

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