Confucius (2010 film)
|Directed by||Hu Mei|
|Produced by||Han Sanping
|Written by||Chan Khan
|Music by||Zhao Jiping|
|Edited by||Zhan Haihong|
Dadi Century (Beijing)
China Film Group
|Distributed by||China Film Group|
|Box office||US$18.6 million|
Confucius (Chinese: 孔子 Kǒng Zǐ) 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.
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. 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.
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 are 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.
- Chow Yun-fat as Confucius or Kong Qiu, also known by the honorary title Zhong Ni.
- Zhou Xun as Nanzi, the royal consort of Wei.
- Xu Huanshan as Laozi, the sage of Daoism.
- Yao Lu as Duke Lu Dinggong, ruler of Lu.
- Ma Jingwu as Duke Jing of Qi.
- Bi Yanjun as Duke Ling of Wei
- Wang Huichun as Li Chu, a minister in the Qi Court.
- Li Huan as Kuai Kui, crown prince of Wei.
- Chen Jianbin as Ji Sunsi, head of the Jishi Clan and minister in the Court of Lu.
- Lu Yi as Ji Sunfei, the son of Ji Sunsi.
- Wang Ban as Shu Sunwu, head of the Shushi Clan and minister of the Court of Lu.
- Wu Liansheng as Meng Sunhe, head of the Mengshi Clan and minister in the Court of Lu.
- Kai Li as Lady Qiguan, the wife of Confucius.
- Qiao Zhenyu as Kong Li, son of Confucius.
- Chen Rui as Kong Jiao, the daughter of Confucius.
- Ren Quan as Yan Hui, disciple of Confucius.
- Li Wenbo as Zilu, disciple of Confucius.
- Ma Qiang as Ran Qiu, disciple of Confucius.
- Kan Jinming as Zigong, disciple of Confucius.
- Liu Fengchao as Qi Sigong, a slave in the house of the Jishi Clan.
- Gao Tian as young Qi Sigong
- Liu Yongchen as Gongxi Chi
- Chen Weidong as Zeng Shen
- Wang Qingyuan as Zeng Dian, disciple of Confucius.
- Ma Yong as Gongbo Liao
- Li Chunpeng as Ziyou
- Chen Liejun as Zigao
- Tang Muchun as Zixia
- Luo Minghan as Ran Yong
- Li Xinru as Nichang
- Gong Jie as Gong Ye
- Zhang Xingzhe as Gongshan Niu, a retainer of the Ji Clan and mayor of Biyi City.
- Dong Ziwu as Yan Zhuoju, Zilu's brother in law.
- Gu Yang as Hou Fan
- Huang Wenguang as Ji family servant
- Ji Yongqing as Shen Juxu
- Zhou Jiantao as Yue Shuo
Awards and nominations
30th Hong Kong Film Awards
- Nominated – Best Actor (Chow Yun-fat)
- Nominated – Best Cinematography (Peter Pow)
- Nominated – Best Art Direction
- Nominated – Best Costume Design
- Nominated – Best Original Song (Faye Wong)
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.
Choice of actors
After the project was announced, the reaction in China was decidedly mixed. As the film is made in Mandarin, many expressed concern that Chow, a native of the Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong SAR, would lack the requisite Mandarin-speaking skills to portray the revered philosopher. 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.
Kong Jian lawsuit
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.
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. 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. The Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily speculated that the Chinese authorities were worried Avatar had seized the market share from domestic films and noted that many of the vacant cinema slots would be replaced by Confucius, and the film would be "drawing unwanted attention to the sensitive issue" concerning forced evictions of Chinese homes. 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." 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.
- "Confucius Teaser Trailer and Making-of". Archived from the original on 20 December 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
- (in Chinese) 2010 Yearly Box Office Ranking for Mainland China
- Total Gross for "Confucius" Worldwide (excluding Mainland China)
- Coonan, Clifford (16 March 2009). "Chow Yun-fat signs on as Confucius". Variety. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- "Faye Wong returns for film Confucius". China Central Television. China.org.cn. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- China Radio International (5 March 2009). "Chow Yun-fat seeks to play Confucius". China Daily. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Xie Xizhang (31 March 2009). "Can Chow play Confucius?". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Lam, Perry (February 2010). "He's not there". Muse Magazine (37): 95.
- "Confucius in Court". Global Times. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- Lafraniere, Sharon (20 January 2010). "China Curtails Run of 'Avatar' as It Fills Theaters". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
- "'Avatar' pulled from 2-D screens by Chinese government". Los Angeles Times. 18 January 2010.
- Avatar banned by Chinese sensors because plot 'could cause civil unrest', Irish Independent, accessed 01/19/2010
- "China Says Not Forcing "Avatar" off the Screens". ABC News.
- Lafraniere, Sharon (29 January 2010). "China's Zeal for 'Avatar' Crowds Out 'Confucius'". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010.