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Han Han: ‘Confucius’ Failure Good For Chinese Cinema

Han Han Chinese bloggerHan Han is a famous post-80s generation professional race-car driver and best-selling author. He is also one of China’s most popular Chinese bloggers, and my own favorite.  — Fauna

From Han Han’s blog:

Thank You, Confucius

I went to the movie theater today. Originally I wanted to see 14 Blades, but perhaps I’ve already lost all my interest in domestic historical epics, so I bought a ticket for the Korean film Mother, then went home. But I was happy to discover that Confucius was already off the screens. This implies that, from a commercial standpoint, the film has completely failed.

Hu Wen Chinese movie director
Confucius director Hu Mei

Confucius‘s failure was inevitable, from its forcing Avatar off the screen to its director’s [outspoken speech] — “Avatar has nothing good except special effects”, “[it is just] a group of elves flying around”, “Of course (I will become the first female director to surpass 100 million RMB in the box office), is there any doubt?”, [In response to a critic saying the historical Zi Lu and Nan Zi didn’t die the way they died in the movie:] “This guy really doesn’t understand movies, he’s an expert, more like a fake expert, as soon as he watches movies he’s a layman, there’s no need for him to go around fishing for compliments and praise”, “Chinese people all want to see Confucius“, “I trust everyone will make the correct choice” — to the screenwriter’s rejection of all criticism (actually, the screenwriter’s failure is the film’s biggest failure), to the filmmakers claiming the criticism was because another domestic film was spending money trying to frame Confucius, to the lies about box office results, and finally, to the filmmakers saying that all the audience members who questioned the movie are very disrespectful towards the ancient sages, don’t respect Chinese traditional culture, and are immoral cheats and bullies causing trouble. This is probably the worst quality, most disrespectful, biggest PR failing, least resembling Confucianist group of performers [and filmmakers] in the history of New China. This group of people, each harboring their own personal ambitions, when put together created Confucius; perhaps their greatest understanding of Confucius is wanting to help the ruling class by teaching the people. In actuality, they are also doing this.

When criticizing this film before, I did my best to avoid criticizing Confucius the person; I thought that he just didn’t make his point clearly, that he was a person who spoke even less clearly than Hamlet. It’s just that the film itself, aside from the actor’s passable performances, is a complete mess. If this kind of film was successful, it would definitely lead to a surge of [films like] Lao Zi [famous Daoist philosopher], Zhuang Zi [another early Daoist philosopher], Mencius [another Confucian philosopher], Mo Zi [founder of the school of Mohism], and these movies would certainly be quite boring, use up a lot of resources, and would be a great step backward in the development of Chinese cinema.

The failure of Confucius is triumphant news for Chinese cinema, and perhaps a turning point in Chinese film-making. Thank you, people who made Confucius!

Movies should use imagination to create things that reflect people’s ideals, but China’s films mostly reflect the government’s ideals. Of course, if one day the two become the same, then not only will [Chinese] films be successful but the government will be successful as well. Perhaps it’s that movies on ancient topics with traditional meaning are politically safer, but I’m already fed up with them.

Confucius movie posterThere has never been a country that likes making movies about things that came before the country existed the way the People’s Republic of China does. There has never been a country with movies like ours, where as soon as you hear the title without even watching the film you can tell the fate of the protagonist in the end. [Historical] Epics make up only a small part of classic films. Moreover, the only historical epics I’ve seen that are classics are about humanity fighting for freedom and revolting against fate. I have never seen a historical epic about resolutely assisting the ruler, educating the people, and abandoning girls become a classic epic. [Always] returning to ancient times is the largest problem with Chinese film.

As American and European commercial films get increasingly literate, our domestic films, which are still in the process of excavating ancient tombs, can’t possibly compete. The only way out for Chinese films in the future is to use emotions, and use literate and excellent domestic artistic films to oppose international blockbusters.

Comments from Han Han’s blog:

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新浪网友:

Han Han, you are the hope of a future free China…

中国足球的出路在哪里:

So where is the way out for the Chinese football [soccer] team?

新浪网友:

Han Han, you must take care of yourself, China needs you.

新浪网友:

The idiots brainwashed by spokespeople to oppose Japan and America,
The fifty cent dogs who sell their conscience for fifty cents,
They are all targets that Han Han must awaken and save,
Go Han Han!

新浪网友:

Some people can’t say what their problem with Han Han is, they only can say that he always criticizes and rarely praises.
But why don’t these people go think, in our country, twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year, aren’t there enough people singing praises?
In this army of praisers, one less Han Han [amongst them] is one more clean soul for our nation.

2080后:

Han Han, you’re being very considerate these days, in many posts you are pointing out problems, please come again and resolve some problems, that would be very good, very good.

新浪网友:

The reincarnation of Lu Xun

新浪网友:

There are three kinds of people who oppose Han Han. One kind is the people who don’t understand Han Han because of their own IQ. Another kinds is the people who intentionally don’t understand Han Han’s words. The third kind is martians.

Chow Yun Fat on set of Confucius reading script

Han Han isn’t the only one who didn’t like Confucius.

Translated by C. Custer, editor of ChinaGeeks.

“I believe everyone will make the correct choice.” chinaSMACK personals.

Written by C. Custer

C. Custer is a full-fledged China enthusiast whose interests include literature, history, language, and philosophy. He graduated from Brown in 2008 with a B.A. in East Asian Studies, and is currently teaching Chinese in New England and administering ChinaGeeks, a China translation, news, and analysis blog.

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