Why audiences in China are loving Green Book

“You people love fried chicken,” says a white chauffeur to the black man in the back seat, offering him a drumstick. “You have a very narrow assessment of me,” the passenger responds, refusing to take it. After a short argument, he begins to gingerly nibble on the chicken, then polishes it off, and even flings the bone out the window, in imitation of his carefree driver.

At that, the people around me watching Green Book in a downtown shopping mall in Guangzhou, in southern China, burst into delighted laughter.

A last-minute ticket purchase had put me in the second row of a packed screening on Saturday (March 2), a day after the film staring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen had opened in China, and just a few days after the film was awarded the Oscar for best picture—despite criticism in the US for its excessively simplistic portrayal of race relations.

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