Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Confucius biopic   posted by Razib @ 1/26/2010 12:14:00 PM

I noticed that a new biopic of Confucius just opened in China. It's pretty obvious that they "sexed up" his life, as you can see in the trailer. 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. Stepping into it without a grand frame can lead one to conclude that he was quite a pedestrian man. Confucius was a man of ideas (though even those ideas can seem somewhat obscure, e.g. rectification of names). You see this in Annping Chin's The Authentic Confucius: A Life of Thought and Politics; I can't imagine Karen Armstrong writing such a dense and slow book.