Have a Nice Day is the latest animated dark comedy film from writer and director Liu Jian. Set in a small town in Southern China, the film starts with Xiao Zhang, a driver who steals a bag containing 1 million RMB from his mob boss in order to pay for his fiancée’s botched plastic surgery. As word of Xiao Zhang’s robbery spreads across town, a motley cast of the city’s residents join in on the hunt for the stolen money, each with their own dreams of making it big.
《大世界》是作家兼导演刘健的最新黑色喜剧动画电影。影片故事发生在中国南方的一个小镇上，电影一开始，司机小张为了给未婚妻一笔钱去做拙劣的整形手术，从他的流氓老板那里偷走了 100 万元的巨款。小张的抢劫案传遍了整个小镇，当地的居民开始加入对被盗巨款的追捕中来，每一个人都怀有自己的大梦想。
The animation for Have a Nice Day was done mostly by Liu, who spent about three years completing the film. Liu brings a bleak and melancholic aesthetic to the film’s small-town Chinese setting and its shady cast of characters. Sharing his thoughts on creating the film, Liu says: “My favorite artistic style, and in fact, my artistic philosophy, is plain and simple. In this film, I use the minor actions and subtle movements of the characters to portray their emotions, which, along with the vivid landscapes and interiors the characters exist in, constitute the poetic, and, in some sense, sad and melancholic aesthetic philosophy of the film. In my eyes, this film as a whole can be seen as a landscape painting representing modern China.”
Multiple references to contemporary events – such as audio sampled from Donald Trump’s campaign trail, or a remark about Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Ma – tie the film to our present-day reality and make it all the more engaging for a modern-day audience. Liu says, “Have a Nice Day is an animation film, but it’s penetrated through and through with the philosophy of realism. […] There are so many uncertainties and possibilities to be imagined in such a dynamic and lively space like the city’s borderlands. What some might call surrealism is often the reality there, and that is fascinating to me in itself. I love to observe and reflect on how people there are living, thinking, and acting. The cultural landscapes of the city’s edges and the people who live there are one of the main sources and inspirations for my work. At the same time, the coexistence of realism and symbolism emphasizes the fantasy and the absurdity of these characters and their stories. In modern China, magical realism is happening around us almost every day. Life at times can resemble a surreal comedy that is filled with both jubilance and self-paralysis.”
影片当中多次对当代事件的进行了引用，例如从唐纳德·特朗普（Donald Trump）选活动中采集的音频，或者关于马克·扎克伯格（Mark Zuckerberg）或马云的评论，以此将这部电影与我们今天的现实联系起来，使其更加吸引观众。刘健说：“《大世界》是一部动画电影，但它充满了现实主义的哲学……在城市边缘地区这样一个充满活力的热闹空间中，有许多不确定性和可能性令人遐想。在一些人眼中的超现实主义，在那里却往往是现实的存在，这本身对我来说就是很有意思的事情。我喜欢观察并思考人们是如何生活、思考和行动的。城市边缘的文化，以及那里生活的人是我创作时最大的灵感来源。同时，现实主义与象征主义的并存，又突显了这些人物以及他们的故事的奇幻与荒诞。在现代中国，魔幻现实主义几乎每天都在我们身边发生。生活有时像是一部充满欢乐和自我麻木的超现实主义喜剧片。”
Have a Nice Day won the award for Best Animation at the 54th annual Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, Taiwan, and has received worldwide critical acclaim for its neo-noir storytelling, gritty visuals, and penetrating depiction of modern-day Chinese society. Aside from the engrossing story and aesthetic, the film also features music from The Shanghai Restoration Project.
Have a Nice Day will be screening in theatres in the UK beginning on March 23rd, 2018. For more information on dates and locations, click here.