China Backs Biopic of Confucius, With Reactions
Filming is due to begin in three weeks. A release date has yet to be announced.
The movie comes amid a surge in interest in the philosopher, who was practically outlawed during China’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.
Mao Zedong and his followers criticised him, calling him feudal, old-fashioned and part of the bourgeois hierarchical thinking of the past.
The film, which casts Hong Kong’s gangster-movie star, Chow Yun-fat in the starring role, will tell the story of Confucius’s life and his travels around the kingdoms of northeast and central China expounding his political beliefs.
[...]In recent years the Chinese government has invested substantially in the Confucian revival, giving classic Confucian texts greater prominence in university teaching and, in 2004, setting up a network of Confucius Institutes abroad to promote Chinese culture.
However Daniel Bell, an expert on Confucianism, said it would be interesting to see how the film portrayed the thinker’s travels between different ancient Chinese states to persuade rulers to adopt his teachings, a goal that was not realised in his lifetime.
Some Chinese netizens have already chimed in with their opinions on the selection of Chow Yun-Fat as the lead actor. While many are excited and support the choice, others have sharply criticized the decision. Some reactions on Sina.com, translated by CDT:
Chow Yun-Fat can only play hoodlums — can he fit into the role of Confucius?
I like Chow Yun-Fat. He’s a suitable choice for the role of Confucius, and worth anticipating.
The choice of Chow Yun-Fat was entirely guided by the overseas influence and by the box office. But Brother Chow’s knowledge of Chinese isn’t all that great. Why is China’s sage going to be played by an overseas [Hong Kong] actor? This choice also reflects on the director’s quality.
Brother Chow is the best choice. Director Hu Mei has really got vision.
Chow Yun-Fat is absolutely unlearned. He talks the talk, but can’t walk the walk, and is a totally inappropriate choice for the portrayal of Confucius!! He will certainly play a hypocritical, unbelievable, and fake Confucius. Anyway, this will be undoubtedly be a weak television drama (sic)! Just cast a few glances at it, and then turn away.