Confucius (2010 film)

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Confucius
Confucius film post.jpg
Traditional 孔子
Simplified 孔子
Mandarin Kǒng Zǐ
Cantonese Hung2 Zi2
Directed by Hu Mei
Produced by Han Sanping
Rachel Liu
John Shum
Written by Chan Khan
He Yanjiang
Jiang Qitao
Hu Mei
Starring Chow Yun-fat
Zhou Xun
Chen Jianbin
Ren Quan
Lu Yi
Yao Lu
Music by Zhao Jiping
Cinematography Peter Pau
Edited by Zhan Haihong
Production
  company
Dadi Century (Beijing)
China Film Group
Distributed by China Film Group
Release date(s)
  • 28 January 2010 (2010-01-28)[1]
Running time 115 minutes
Country China
Language Mandarin
Box office US$18.6 million[2][3]

Confucius (Chinese: 孔子) is a 2010 Chinese biographical drama film written and directed by Hu Mei, starring Chow Yun-fat as the titular Chinese philosopher. The film was produced by P.H. Yu, Han Sanping, Rachel Liu and John Shum.

Production on the film began in March 2009 with shooting on location in China's Hebei province and in Hengdian World Studios in Zhejiang.[4]

The film was scheduled to screen later in 2009 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, as well as the 2,560th birthday of Confucius himself.[4] However, the release date was later moved to January 2010.

Funimation released it on 27 March 2012 in English Dub on DVD and Blu-ray.

Plot[edit]

The film begins with Confucius as an old man, thinking back. Then we see him in his early 50s, being promoted from Mayor to Minister for Law in his home state of Lu. He is confronted with ethical issues after saving a slave-boy who was due to be buried alive with his former master who has just died. There is a lot of complex politics and war, ending with Confucius being rejected and becoming a wandering scholar. After many hardships and losses, he is invited back as an old man. We see him finally preparing the Spring and Autumn Annals, expecting that this book will determine his future influence.

Cast[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

30th Hong Kong Film Awards

  • Nominated – Best Actor (Chow Yun-fat)
  • Nominated – Best Cinematography (Peter Pow)
  • Nominated – Best Art Direction
  • Nomianted – Best Costume Design
  • Nominated – Best Original Song (Faye Wong)

Music[edit]

Faye Wong sang the theme song for the film. Her "soothing and ethereal voice" was considered appropriate for the lofty spirit of the song, "Solitary Orchid" (Chinese: 幽兰操; pinyin: You Lan Cao), which is based on an ancient work by Han Yu. Wong, a Buddhist, stated that she recorded the song "for Confucius" as his writings still provide the answers to modern questions.[5]

Controversies[edit]

Choice of actors[edit]

After the project was announced, the reaction in China was decidedly mixed. As the film is made in Mandarin, many have expressed concern that Chow, a native of the Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong SAR, will lack the requisite Mandarin-speaking skills to portray the revered philosopher.[6] Others were concerned that Chow, a veteran of action and Kung Fu-cinema, would turn Confucius into a "kung-fu hero." Such concerns were only exacerbated after mainland star Pu Cunxin criticized Hu Mei's script as containing inappropriate levels of action and romance for a film based on Confucius' life.[7]

In his review of the movie, Perry Lam of Muse has criticized Chow for being 'the least likely actor to play the title role.'[8]

Kong Jian lawsuit[edit]

In December 2009, more controversy arose when a claimed-direct descendent of Confucius brought suit against the film-makers. After seeing the film's trailer, the descendent, Kong Jian, sought to have several scenes deleted from the release of the film and objecting to the intimations that Confucius was romantically attracted to the concubine, Nanzi.[9]

Screening[edit]

During the film's launch in China, the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar was reportedly going to be pulled from nearly 1,600 2-D screens across China, to benefit the wide release of this film.[10] Instead, Avatar showings continued in the fewer, but more popular 900 3-D screens throughout China, which generated over 64% of the film's total ticket sales in China.[10][11] The Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily speculates that the Chinese authorities were worried Avatar had seized the market share from domestic films and noted that many of the vacant cinema slots will be replaced by Confucius,[12] and the film would be "drawing unwanted attention to the sensitive issue" concerning forced evictions of Chinese homes.[11] However, China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television responded by stating it was a "commercial decision", and because the "box office performance of the 2D version has not been great."[13] However, due to low attendance for Confucius, and high demand for Avatar, the Chinese government reversed their decision, and allowed Avatar to remain on some 2-D screens in China. This choice appeared to be at least partly based on the financial performance of the two films, with Avatar grossing nearly 2.5 times more money per day.[14]

DVD release[edit]

On 4 October 2010, DVD was released in Cine Asia at the UK in Region 2.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Confucius Teaser Trailer and Making-of". Retrieved 2009-12-26. 
  2. ^ (Chinese) 2010 Yearly Box Office Ranking for Mainland China
  3. ^ Total Gross for "Confucius" Worldwide (excluding Mainland China)
  4. ^ a b Coonan, Clifford (16 March 2009). "Chow Yun-fat signs on as Confucius". Variety. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  5. ^ "Faye Wong returns for film Confucius". China Central Television. China.org.cn. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  6. ^ China Radio International (5 March 2009). "Chow Yun-fat seeks to play Confucius". China Daily. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  7. ^ Xie Xizhang (31 March 2009). "Can Chow play Confucius?". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  8. ^ Lam, Perry (2 2010). "He's not there". Muse Magazine (37): 95. 
  9. ^ "Confucius in Court". Global Times. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  10. ^ a b Lafraniere, Sharon (20 January 2010). "China Curtails Run of ‘Avatar’ as It Fills Theaters". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  11. ^ a b "'Avatar' pulled from 2-D screens by Chinese government". Los Angeles Times. 18 January 2010. 
  12. ^ Avatar banned by Chinese sensors because plot 'could cause civil unrest', Irish Independent, accessed 01/19/2010
  13. ^ "China Says Not Forcing "Avatar" off the Screens". ABC News. 
  14. ^ Lafraniere, Sharon (29 January 2010). "China’s Zeal for ‘Avatar’ Crowds Out ‘Confucius’". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 

External links[edit]