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January 23, 2010

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'Confucius' filmmakers pay homage to the man

THE stars and crew of the new Chinese biopic about Confucius paid their respects to the ancient philosopher at his birthplace yesterday, as the film opened in cinemas nationwide.

The ceremony was held in a Confucian Temple, in east China's Shandong Province's Qufu City. Yu Pinhai, chief coordinator of the film, led the tribute and chanted a scripture.

Hong Kong actor Chow Yun Fat, who played Confucius; director Hu Mei; and playwright Chen Han knelt and presented bouquets to the statue of Confucius (551 to 479 BC) in tribute.

Chow knelt to Kong Demao, 93, a direct descendent of Confucius, at the January 14 premiere in Beijing. Chow said he had to muster his courage to play such a great man.

"The movie's screening indicates that Confucianism is playing an increasingly significant role in today's China," said Kong Dewei, 73, another descendent of Confucius.

In the past 2,500 years, Confucian thought evolved and has become an important symbol of Chinese culture, Kong Dewei said.

Some of his ideas were indeed truth, such as "don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you," said Kong.

"If every one adheres to those words, we can really build a harmonious society."

"We had to read The Analects of Confucius time and again," Hu said. "It was an inspiring experience as we learned how he is connected to so many aspects of our daily life."

Harmony was the core of Confucian thought, which coincided with the Chinese government's stated goal of building a harmonious society.

"Confucius," also starring mainland actress Zhou Xun, had a 150-million-yuan (US$22 million) investment and set a record in Chinese film history for having 2,500 prints, assuring that the film eventually will get into all Chinese cinemas.


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