Sunday, August 30, 2009

Film on Confucius Resurfacing

from the article,

After years of painstaking restoration, the archive premiered a partially reassembled “Confucius” during April’s Hong Kong International Film Festival. Mr. Ho said a more complete version should be ready by early next year. While Fei Mu’s slow-moving, meditative drama is unlikely to outshine a forthcoming lavish biopic about Confucius starring the Hong Kong film idol Chow Yun-Fat, it will give filmgoers a chance to get acquainted with a singular piece of China’s cinematic heritage.

“‘Confucius’ has always been considered a lost film,” Mr. Ho said. “It’s always been a major missing piece in the puzzle of the cinema of Fei, because of the time it was made and his aesthetic development as an artist.”

Though relatively few of his films have survived physically the passage of time, Fei is revered by fans of classic Chinese cinema. His 1948 love story, “Spring in a Small Town,” was voted the greatest Chinese film of all time by Hong Kong’s Film Awards Association in 2005. That film was also remade, in 2002, by the influential director Tian Zhuangzhuang.

“Confucius” dates from a particularly tumultuous period in both Fei’s career and China’s history. With the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937, Fei, along with thousands of others, fled Shanghai for Hong Kong. There he met a group of aspiring young movie producers, including Jin Xinmin, an herbal medicine merchant and ardent film buff. Together, they struck upon the idea of making a film biography of Confucius — a politically fraught gesture at a time when Chinese culture seemed under attack from all sides.


His film Spring In A Small Town in its entireity, from 1948. Without English subtitles.

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