Confucius (2010) – REVIEW

by Jordache Wee

Original Mandarin Title: 孔子
Release Date: January 28, 2010
Directed by: Hu Mei
Language: Mandarin
Music by: Zhao Jiping
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Zhou Xun, Chen Jianbin, Ren Quan, Lu Yi, Yao Lu

Based upon the biopic legendary philosopher Confucius. The now, Kong Qiu (Chow Yun-Fat) is retelling his story to one of his disciple upon completing the Spring and Autumn Annals.

An old and fragile man with white robe and hair seems to realize that his time might just have come as he started to dwell into the past.

In the Kingdom of Lu, Kong Qiu was a mere commoner whose philosophy and teachings has spread within the vast kingdom; his teachings has brought the kingdom a civilization of good moral ethics.

Kong Qiu lived with his wife, Qi GuanShi (Zhang KaiLi), and their two children in a manor where he also taught his philosophical principles to seventy two disciples. They had a son, Kong Li (Qiao ZhenYu), and a daughter, Kong Rao (Chen Rui).

He was favored by Lord Lu Jun for his intelligence and charisma. Lord Lu Jun believes that the State of Lu will continue to prosper under the Kong Qiu’s teachings and principles that he appointed to vacant the seat of Minister of Law when it was previously filled by the late Duke Ji Yiru. At the same time, Lord Lu Jun intended to regain his power from the three controlling noble clans in State of Lu.

Despite all that, the government officials who worked for the lord does approved of his well-being because he is not born a noble yet received such a high position from the majesty. Jealousy and envies soon rumor around minister hall.

Kong Qiu did nothing to prevent this from happening because he believes in his confidence that the lord’s judgement is based on his moral perspective. His position as a mayor rise to Minister of Law within a short period.

Among Kong Qiu’s teachings was the fundamental of respecting everyone equally as parents and children indiscriminately. This particular teaching at the time deviated from local traditions. There is one local tradition which was opposed by Kong Qiu which was the burial of living servants and slaves with their master during funeral ceremony.

Kong Qiu sheltered a runaway slave named Qi SiGong (Liu FengChao) from the House of Duke Ji Yiru Clan who refused to be buried with his late master. As he tried to abandon the task of having young slaves and slaves to be buried alive with the master, General GongShan Niu (Zhang XingZhe), the Commander in Chief, and Duke Ji Yiru’s son, Prime Minister Ji SunSi (Chen JianBin) disagreed with this as it has long been an ancestry practice.

He aided his lord to victory when he succeeded to achieve a diplomatic alliance with their neighboring state (Qi) and regain the three cities back under the State of Qi control without spilling any blood in the ravine.

Kong Qiu, Lord Lu Jun and their envoys were surrounded by thousands of State of Qi’s soldiers when Kong Qiu demanded the return of State of Lu’s cities a part of the peace resolution.

Furthermore, Kong Qiu was promised five hundred chariots by Prime Minister Ji SunSi for Lord Lu Jun’s protection. But they never arrive at the summit.

With only Kong Qiu’s seventy two disciples and dozens of horses on the other side of the hills, their tumult gave a grand illusion of thousands of State of Lu’s soldiers ready for battle. Refusing to go all out war, Lord Jing ChuJiu (Ma JingWu) who was the ruler of State of Qi agreed with Kong Qiu’s term and demand of alliance resolution.

Then Kong Qiu propose to raze the three noble clans fortress wall so as they would be a larger state than having a fiefdom. His plan is to bring all three clans united under the dominion Kingdom of Lu. It was a success until General Gongshan Niu disagreed and led a revolt against the Kingdom of Lu. The general surrendered.

Unfortunately, the Kingdom of Lu was easily influenced by the three noble clans and has proposed to the lord to exile Kong Qiu because with the fortress wall down; neighboring enemies will easily attack from both sides.

Thus, Kong Qiu was demoted and received a broken jade as a symbol of exile.
Kong Qiu leaves wandering along with his loyal disciples Yan Hui (Ren Quan) and the rest of the disciples came along with him.

For months, they wander from state to state until they reached the Kingdom of Wei led by Lord Chu (Bi Yanjun) who seek to have Kong Qiu in charge as their military adviser and mentor to their undue hasty crown prince. However, the kingdom was heavily influenced by the lord’s concubine, Consort Nanzi (Zhou Xun).

 

Consort Nanzi (Zhou Xun)

Consort Nanzi tried to seduce Kong Qiu but failed to do so as she also begin to view him as a moral and noble person who does not seek lasviciously like other men. After the meeting, Kong Qiu told his disciple to leave the kingdom because war will soon burn this state down.

For almost fourteen years, Kong Qiu and his loyal disciples roamed from States to States. Back in the Kingdom of Lu, the dying Prime Minister JiSunsi realized how much he regretted the mistake he made to exile Kong Qiu – he sent his son Ji Sunfei (Lu Yi) to invite Kong Qiu back home to the Kingdom of Lu by giving him a jade.

Kong Qiu agreed to return but ask not to meddle with politics anymore instead he prefer to teach his philosophy.

A flashback to present time, the fragile old man – Kong Qiu left the world. Leaving behind his knowledge, literature, poetries, music and wisdom to educate from generation to generation.

Reviewer’s Note:
Kong Qiu aka Confucius is a respectable man of wisdom. This film is about his moral teachings and values towards humanity and civilization and his life throughout the history whereby each kingdom and state still greed for power and yet to be unified as one.

Confucius is not only beautiful in his philosophy but the film is also uniquely rich with its colorful culture that is so mesmerizing. Chow Yun-Fat has portrayed a very significant role that will enchant the audience.

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