- Title: TAIWAN: Mainland Chinese Confucius film debuts
- Date: 5th February 2010
- Summary: TAIPEI, TAIWAN (FEBRUARY 3, 2010) (REUTERS) (*** SOME FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ***) PEOPLE IN CONFUCIUS TEMPLE ACTOR CHOW YUN-FAT AND TAIPEI MAYOR HAU LUNGPIN STANDING ON STAGE HAU HANDING SCARF TO CHOW PHOTOGRAPHERS TAKING PHOTOS CHOW HANDING GIFT TO HAU YOUNG PEOPLE WEARING CHINESE TRADITIONAL CLOTHES WALKING UP STAGE
- Embargoed: 20th February 2010 12:00
- Reuters ID: LVA6N3WNBDF47SUCREYUK0LK8TVV
- Story Text: The mainland Chinese film 'Confucius' opened in self-ruled rival Taiwan on Wednesday (February 3) night.
The premiere, attended by Hong Kong star Chow Yun-Fat who plays the ancient Chinese philosopher, was held in Taipei's Confucius Temple.
The biopic, which started to show on the mainland on January 22, reportedly cost about 150 million yuan ($21.9 million U.S. dollars) to make.
While restrictions on mainland cultural imports have eased in recent years, mainland films and music still struggle to break the dominance of those from the United States, Europe and Taiwan itself.
The film's organisers are hoping that a shared Confucian history could boost its reception in Taiwan, in some ways still a traditional Confucian society where elements of his teaching are still taught in schools.
Chow said despite years of experience acting, playing Confucius in the movie was very challenging.
"I play fictional roles most of the time. Because the roles don't exist in reality, there was plenty of room to bring creativity into the play. But everybody interprets Confucius in their own way and portraying him was a great challenge for me. After I read through the script, I found that Confucius in the movie was presented as a human being. There wasn't preaching involved, so as an actor I thought I would give it a try," Chow told reporters.
There have been widespread reports in the Chinese media that Chinese authorities decided to limit screenings of U.S. blockbuster "Avatar" in mainland theaters to make way for the homegrown film.
China has been quick to deny the rumours, saying the scaling down of "Avatar screenings was for commercial reasons".
But John Shum, head of the film company that produced "Confucius," dismissed the accusation.
"We simply wanted to make a movie about Confucius, it is just a touching story. The mainland likes to politicise things, that is their business. The audience wouldn't know about it anyway. But we cannot say that Avatar has been pulled from theatres because of our movie. Firstly, this wouldn't help our movie and secondly, we don't expect a significant increase in box office profits," said Shum.
"Avatar" has made around 80 million U.S. Dollars in China ao far, and is the country's most popular film ever.
Confucius, who is believed to have lived between 551 and 479 BC, is thought to be one of the most influential philosopher in Chinese history. Confucius taught principles such as loyalty to the family and mutual respect.
China's ruling Communist Party once condemned the ancient philosopher and tried to eradicate the principles but later began reviving some old practices, including promoting certain aspects of Confucianism, as the Party seeked to make traditional virtues an anchor of order and stability during times of social change.
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