Confucius the movie?

Yes apparently the life of Confucious is going to be made into a movie, with Chow Yun Fat in the lead role. As Gene Expression points out:

In terms of a big-budget biopic it seems to me that the life of Confucius is a very thin source of blockbuster material in relation to other social-religious figures of eminence. Jesus, Moses and Buddha have supernatural aspects to their lives. Muhammad’s life offers the opportunity for set-piece battles. Confucius was in many ways a failed bureaucrat, a genius unrecognized in his own day. His life can’t be easily appreciated unless you have the proper context of his impact on Chinese history in mind.

It will be interesting to see if this can be pulled off.

I see that Lao Tzu is also going to feature in this movie. How much more of a free society would China be today if Lao Tzu’s thought had prevailed over Confucius?

7 Responses to “Confucius the movie?”

  1. steve from brisbane Says:

    If it deals with his life as a secret Kung Fu assassin, it’ll be OK.

  2. Legal Eagle Says:

    Hmm, perhaps they’ll make it interesting by focusing on Lao Tzu? I agree, China would be much freer…although the Communists said they rejected Confucious, a lot of their actions are imbued with his ideals.

  3. skepticlawyer Says:

    What Steve from Brisbane said… unless you’re dealing with a philosopher who actually did “stuff” (ie, lived an active, not a contemplative, life) then this would be hard to do well. The life of Seneca? or Socrates? You at least have nice messy finales with those guys…

  4. Dave Bath Says:

    SL: On a philosopher who did “stuff”….
    Well, he did do stuff, not just constant omphaloskepsis: justice minister (solving marketplace violence not by sending in burly guards, but the weights and measures inspectors… the dodgy scales being the main source of the arguments), prime minister off and on whenever he could find a decent ruler. Bringing to the point about reading the “the land will be good when sons are sons, fathers are fathers, advisors are advisors and rulers rule”… which is not necessarily “everybody in their place”, but “everybody acting FIT for their role”, a reasonable reading when he pushes the line about the guy at the top having to work harder and better than anyone else… or the underlyings slack off, and their underlings, and their underlings, and finally the peasants.

    As an example, one rival “Duke” wanted to get rid of Confucius who was prime minister for a different region, and thus weaken the rule of Confucius’ boss prior to a takeover, and used a VERY sneaky method. He sent a lot of “dancing girls” as a present to Confucius’ boss, who promptly withdrew to his chamber to “dance” with them. By the next day, when his boss was still dallying rather than working, Confucius left because his ruler was unworthy. A successful hostile takeover followed.

    That attitude, of needing your boss to do his duty, is quite subversive, and very diferent from the underlings-must-do-as-they-are-told reading. Singapore too claims Confucius as inspiration, but again, very much of the Legalist School of harsh punishments, and centralization of authority. There’s Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism (about as similar to Confucianism as Platonism to Neo-Platonism), and “New” (C20 and Post-Mao) Confucianism, each more Legalist than it’s predecessor.

    It’s no different to the way monotheist theocrats (or closely allied politicians) twist scripture to suit themselves, or Stalin twisted Marx.

    But yeah…. dying peacefully in your sleep…. but you do have the tragedy element of him wandering around for years looking for a leader who would be worth working for.

  5. steve from brisbane Says:

    I can see a whole new genre of films featuring the secret lives of philosophers. Kant is supposed to have died a virgin and didn’t move more than 100 km from his home town. Obviously, I can see him as a sort of proto James Bond, with a secret life full of daring spy exploits and casual sex.

    By the way, while Googling him just now, I found this mock personal ad, which made me laugh:

    “SWM, 56, university professor, virgin, just finishing big book, looking for expanded social life. Hobbies include walking around town, starry-sky gazing, rational self-governance. I do not enjoy liars, promise-breakers, dogmatic slumbers, doing the morally right thing (but I do it anyway, out of respect for duty) or travelling. Seeks woman (Konigsberg area, please) for non-exploitative relationship based on mutual respect for our rational natures.”

  6. Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop Says:

    I am confucioused.
    Steve that kant be right.

  7. BirdLab Says:

    Steve, on the delicate matter od personal ads, have you come across the personals in the London Review of Books? Pretty funny:

    ‘List your ten favourite albums… I just want to know if there’s anything worth keeping when we finally break up. Practical, forward thinking man, 35.’

    ‘Employed in publishing? Me too. Stay the hell away. Man on the inside seeks woman on the outside who likes milling around hospitals guessing the illnesses of out-patients. 30-35. Leeds.’

    ‘I like my women the way I like my kebab. Found by surprise after a drunken night out and covered in too much tahini. Before long I’ll have discarded you on the pavement of life, but until then you’re the perfect complement to a perfect evening. Man, 32, rarely produces winning metaphors.’

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