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Confucius
Directed by Hu Mei
Produced by Han Sanping
Hu Mei
Starring Chow Yun-fat
Zhou Xun
Music by Su Cong
Cinematography Peter Pau
Studio Dadi Film
China Film Group
Release date(s) China:
28 January 2010 [1]
Country China
Language Chinese (Mandarin)
Budget HK$22 million (US$2.8 million)[2]

Confucius (Chinese: 孔子) is a Chinese biographical film first released in Beijing on 14 January 2010. Directed by Hu Mei, the film stars Chow Yun-fat as the titular philosopher.

Production on the film began in March 2009 with shooting on location in China's Hebei province and in Hengdian World Studios in Zhejiang.[2]

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.[2] However, the release date was later moved to January 2010.

Contents

Cast

Controversies

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Choice of actors

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.[3] Others were concerned that Chow, a veteran of action and Kung Fu-cinema, would turn Confucius into an "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.[4]

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.[5]

Screening

During the film's launch in China, the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar is reportedly being pulled from nearly 1,600 2-D screens across China, to benefit the wide release of this film.[6] Instead, Avatar will continue to be shown on the fewer, but more popular 900 3-D screens throughout China, which has generated over 64% of the film's total ticket sales in China.[7][6] 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[8], and the film would be "drawing unwanted attention to the sensitive issue" concerning forced evictions of Chinese homes.[7] 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."[9] 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.[10]

References

  1. ^ "Confucius Teaser Trailer and Making-of". http://www.wu-jing.org/happenings/archives/747-Confucius-Teaser-Trailer-and-Making-of.html. Retrieved 2009-12-26. 
  2. ^ a b c Coonan, Clifford (2009-03-16). "Chow Yun-fat signs on as Confucius". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118001264.html. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  3. ^ China Radio International (2009-03-05). "Chow Yun-fat seeks to play Confucius". China Daily. http://www2.chinadaily.com.cn/showbiz/2009-03/05/content_7539548.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  4. ^ Xie Xizhang (2009-03-31). "Can Chow play Confucius?". The Straits Times. http://www.straitstimes.com/vgn-ext-templating/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=7652884a4c650210VgnVCM100000430a0a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=e361758920e39010VgnVCM1000000a35010aRCRD. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  5. ^ "Confucius in Court". Global Times. 2009-12-14. http://life.globaltimes.cn/entertainment/2009-12/491741.html. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  6. ^ a b "China Curtails Run of ‘Avatar’ as It Fills Theaters". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/world/asia/20china.html. 
  7. ^ a b "'Avatar' pulled from 2-D screens by Chinese government". Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/01/avatar-pulled-from-2d-screens-by-chinese-government.html. 
  8. ^ Avatar banned by Chinese sensors because plot 'could cause civil unrest', Irish Independent, accessed 01/19/2010
  9. ^ "China Says Not Forcing "Avatar" off the Screens". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wirestory?id=9607989&page=1. 
  10. ^ "China’s Zeal for ‘Avatar’ Crowds Out ‘Confucius’". The New York Times. 29 January 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/30/business/global/30avatar.html?partner=rss&emc=rss. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 

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