Sunday, February 28, 2010

CONFUCIUS. Take an Old, Dark Tunnel. Let this LIGHT shimmer through.


I have always been a fervent follower of CHOWYUN FAT’s works, since his early days at TVB Hong Kong.

I still am.

You surely don’t get to see a lot of CHOW YUN FATthese days, not when he, at one point, turned his back on Asian filmland to focus on a career in Hollywood.

That was when Hong Kong was facing a dearth of talented directors and good scripts.

When ANDREW LAU and ALAN MAK came on the scene with their INFERNAL AFFAIR trilogy, rescue was at hand, and there was hope for a renewed Hong Kong cinema.

The world took stock of the ‘revival’.

As for Mr. CHOW YUN FAT, his sojourn in Beverly Hills was far from illustrious with a slew of mediocre films with exception of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

and now he is back in Hong Kong/China occasionally, doing what he was doing best before, acting in ASIAN features.

Yet he is pretty selective about the type of roles he’d play.

We have always loved this thespian for his sleek albeit cool acting.

He is a veteran of veterans, so to speak.

It had been reported that he walked out on the set ofJOHN WOO’s RED CLIFF and TONY LEUNG later filled in his shoes, but we shall never know the real reasons.

CONFUCIUS the movie is the latest CHOW YUN FAT’s cinematic offering to kick off year 2010.

It’s a US 23 million dollar budget biopic film financed by the Chinese government, and stars CHOW as the iconic Philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced life in ASIA and beyond.

Helmed by female director HU MEI, it’s also a film shrouded in mindless controversy even before it hits the big screen.

Principally, the authoritarian state had ordered that the 2D version of the Hollywood blockbuster AVATAR be taken off the 1,6oo screens all across CHINA, resulting in consumer rage, thereby inciting scathing reviews, and in the end, the dismal box office takings of CONFUCIUS speak volumes.

So AVATAR had posed as a threat to the CHINA CINEMA byseizing the market share from domestic films?

Maybe so, from a commercial standpoint CONFUCIUS the movie tanked.

But this movie has its far-reaching merits.

First, we are familiar with the teachings of CONFUCIUSwho lived from 551 BC to 479 BC. He is also known asKONG QUI.

He was a great educator and thinker whose philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.

Who would not want a harmonious and humanistic society?

Go watch CONFUCIUS with an open mind and not be prejudiced by armchair critics.

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is art.

Few adverse criticisms do not an ocean make,

Be your own judge, as there are always, two sides to a coin.

I, for one, enjoyed this CONFUCIUS epic.

I have always researched CONFUCIUS‘ wise sayings, yet I know so little about the esteemed philosopher.

This biopic takes me on a journey of aesthetic and visualistic pleasures.

Sure, the battle scenes are glorious, but this is not what I was there for.

Sure, you need to have a basic grasp of the Mandarin language to fully enjoy the rich tapestry of diction and culture. Otherwise, the beauty of the language would be lost in translation if you rely only on the English subtitles.

Sure, ZHOU XUN adds an alluring presence despite the brief screen time.

Sure, the lush cinematography of award winning director-of-photography PETER PAO enthralls and extends dimension to the movie.

Sure, CHOW YUN FAT is always at his best, exuding a majestic presence to the character of CONFUCIUS.

As I walked out of the cinema, I had this vision:

Take this old, dark tunnel ….

Use your torchlight and let this light simmer through.

What do you see?

Light at the end of the tunnel?

Now, we have scored a homerun.

This MOVIE REVIEW is written for

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