When my wife and daughter made their annual summer pilgrimage to China, I asked them to bring back a DVD of the new Confucius with Chow Yun Fat. Unfortunately, the copy they brought would not play on any of the American DVD players we have at home. The world is divided into regions and each region has its own DVDs that won’t play in other regions.
Determined, I resorted to e-bay to find a DVD for the US and Canada. It cost me about $10 plus postage. The above link will take you to Amazon where you may order one.
The movie’s visuals are stunning and Chow Yun Fat does an incredibly convincing job of playing Confucius, who, no matter how much he was abused by the rulers of his homeland, he still honored them.
If you don’t speak Mandarin and must rely on the English subtitles, be warned that most of the subtitles are mangled and do not stay on screen long enough. The challenge is to read the subtitle while keeping an eye on the stunning visuals.
This movie is an epic equal to Cleopatra, Moses and Spartacus. However, if you expect a potboiler, you won’t get one most of the time. Yet, the battle scenes were amazing no matter how brief they were.
It’s obvious that this movie was filmed for a Chinese/Asian audience and their tastes are not as shallow as what most Americans prefer. I’m sure the Chinese didn’t want to ruin the movie by letting Hollywood get hold of it.
The DVD I bought and watched had a photo of Confucius with a beautiful woman on the cover. They must have added her to the cover for that Hollywood sexy touch to appeal to an American audience. In the movie, she plays a minor role and is assassinated for wanting power in a violent world dominated by men busy killing each other.
From what I know of Confucius, the movie showed him close to who he must have been—an honorable man wanting to bring peace to a war-torn land and end the people’s suffering. He spends more than a decade homeless wondering the land in search of someone who will listen besides the rag-tag band of students who stuck to him like glue.
If anything, we could learn something about dedication and loyalty from this band and their master.
At the bottom of the DVD box, it says, “His teachings were banned under Mao Zedong, who oversaw the destruction of his family home during the Cultural Revolution.”
Ironic, considering that Mao stayed in power his last decade because of what Confucius taught the Chinese about piety.
Discover more about The Life of Confucius
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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