Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Confucius biopic to replace Avatar in China

I read an LA Times article today that said the Chinese government is pulling Avatar from theaters and replacing it with a new Confucius biopic.  Apparently, Chinese propaganda officials are pushing the China Film Group (state run) to pull the film, citing that it is drawing money away from the Chinese film market and that it is raising questions about the ethics of forced evictions within its viewers. 

Apparently, while many Americans see reflections of everything from the founding of our country, to Vietnam, to Iraq in the film, the Chinese have their own political take on it.  Many Chinese viewers see a connection to their own country's struggle with the pros and cons of GDP growth.  According to Wikipedia, a recent law in China allows for private ownership of land; and it states that the land cannot be removed by the government, unless it is in the public's best interest.  So, essentially, the government simply reworded a law to give their citizens a sense of private ownership without actually giving it to them.  Easy comparisons could be drawn to United States (and other Western nations') Eminent Domain laws, but general consensus leads me to believe that the Chinese law's loophole gets acted upon with much more frequency and greed than the Western laws.

As for Avatar stirring up thoughts of rebellion, Chinese bloggers have been discussing the film as an allegory for those living in "nail houses."  Nail house refers to a privately owned home that the owner refuses to sell (like a nail sticking out that can't be hammered down).  Often, commercial developers invoke the "public interest" piece of the law and have the owner forcibly removed, for the sake of GDP and the government's fiscal bottom line.

So, you can see why the propaganda officials feel they need to have the film removed.  Free thought is often troublesome for profit margins.

You can watch a trailer for the state sponsored Confucius biopic here.  There are English subtitles, but it won't help you put together the plot unless you are already well versed in the life of Confucius.

Good night!


  1. That's my girl!!

    The movie has stirred up controversy here also. Some feel it is racist,and some religious groups are apposed to it, though I do not know why. I have not seen the film yet, but I intend to. I say anything that creates that much thought is a good thing. But most powers to be do not think so, even those that publicly say it is.

    In one of your blogs could you go into more depth on the life of Confucius? I find it interesting.

  2. I don't know much about Confucius, but I can do some research when I have time. Avatar has stirred up questions of politics, race, and gender. Which, I believe, are signs of a successful script. Poor Cameron, though, as he now has to answer for his script (which he believed to be an environmental vehicle, but he didn't expect it to be so political.

  3. Hmm, brings to mind all the old Confucius jokes... such as, "Man who fart in church sit in own pew."

    A quick search yields

    Hey, it's my way of studying Confucius.

  4. Hmm, the losing blogspot appears to have truncated the url. So, here it is in pieces:

    Yeah, no one cares. Well, me, I think it's funny.

  5. I think it is funny also, Peter. I had forgot about those "Confucius says" Jokes. Thanks for reminding me.