Confucius (Restored Version)

Confucius (Restored Version)

Dir/Scr: Fei Mu
Prod Co: Minhwa
Cast: Tang Huaiqiu, Zhang Yi, Sima Yingcai, Qian yi, Pei Chong
1940 | B&W | DCP | Mandarin (incomplete soundtrack) | Chi & Eng Subtitles | 99min

This film was discovered locally in 2001.

Confucius vanished from sight after its last known screening in 1948. In 2001, the Archive obtained the film's nitrate negatives from an anonymous donor, later restoring the film. 61 years after its disappearance, the film was shown in the theatre once again. The recovery of the film not only prompted extensive discussions among scholars and critics but also bridged an important gap in the tracing of cinematic poet Fei Mu's aesthetic development.

In 1940 when Shanghai fell, the concession area was surrounded by the Japanese military. Historically, this was known as the ‘Orphan Island'. In the chaotic film industry of the era, director Fei Mu and the heads of Minhwa Film Company, Jin Xinmin and Tong Zhenmin, spent almost a whole year and a huge budget to make this film—a move seen as bucking the trend. The story takes place when Confucius is betrayed by evil officials, exiled in the states of Chen and Cai and left all alone when his disciples died. Yet, he remains proud and unyielding as he continues to criticise the government with his principles. Director Fei Mu was very faithful to the Confucian texts, and he explored the meaning of ‘history' and ‘drama' in this film. This version of the film contains about nine minutes of assorted shots and scenes which were believed to have been removed during foreign exhibition. In order for this restored film to resemble Fei Mu's original as closely as possible, the Conservation Unit studied scientific forensic evidence and literary materials in order to insert those shots to the original 87-minute restored version at the right places.

Date Time Venue
7/8/2021 (Sat) # 4:00pm Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive

# Post-screening talk with Mable Ho, Edward Tse

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