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Confucius (2010)

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Cynthia Jackson
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Confucius (2010)

I watched Confucius. While its plot was realistic in terms of depicting the violence and instability of the period and Confucian ideas, this movie had far too many graphic scenes for me to show it in a middle school classroom. I had a hard time watching it, from the murders of slaves whose master had recently died in the first few minutes to final battle scenes at the end. However, historically there were many details that I appreciated about the movie. The depictions of the warring states and the ways that instability was created at the hands of power grabbing noble families and rulers who would take advantage of rebellion or a lowering of defenses in another state at any given moment felt very realistic. The portrayal of ancient traditions such as the two bow greeting to a superior and speaking through ministers and servants was also realistic. I think very carefully selected clips such as Confucius at court and him advising the king could be shown to students to help them visualize the period. Since I would only show a few minutes of this movie, I would probably lead a discussion about what interesting details or quotes they heard while watching. I would also supplement clips with a reading and keep the conversation focused on his teachings. Other scenes such as Yan Hui and Lady Nanzi’s deaths are cinematic but not historical depictions of their deaths, so I would not use those parts of the movie.