Xmas movie wrap-up

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The mushrooming Confucius Institutes around the globe have made the Chinese philosopher and educator who lived 2,500 years ago much better known to the world. Now a biopic of him may bring fresh understanding.

Starring Chow Yun-fat, the grave swordsman in "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon," the film follows Confucius' life between the age of 51 - the time he became an official - and his death at 73. To present a convincing Confucius, Chow took two and a half hours getting made up for the role and worked hard to perfect his Mandarin. He also had to learn ancient rituals and lose 4 kg.

The film has already created quite a stir because Confucians around the world became furious about a rumor that the man they worship as a saint would have an affair and display kungfu skills in the film, which they insist has no historical proof.

Hu Mei, director of the US$20 million film, has promised there will be no sex scenes or kungfu scenes involving the thinker. Hu, one of the few successful female directors in China, made her name directing many TV series on powerful historic figures, such as Emperor Yongzheng and prominent banker Qiao Zhiyong.

Hot Summer Days

Chinese cinema is not all about kungfu and ancient saints. There are also romantic comedies such as "The Holiday" and "Love Actually."

After all, this is the season - Christmas, New Year and Spring Festival - for romantic and family films.

"Hot Summer Days," co-produced by China's largest private media group, Huayi Brothers, Fox International Productions (FIP) and Star Television Asia Limited (STAR), consists of five intertwined love stories, starring about 10 A-listers, such as Jacky Cheung, Daniel Wu and Vivian Hsu.

Cheung plays a driver who falls in love with a foot massagist, while Wu acts as a sushi cook who is tongue-tied in front of Vivian Hsu, his ex-girlfriend with whom he is still in love. Mainland pop singers Jing Boran and Fu Xinbo have minor roles, too.

Veteran filmmaker Paul Cheng and well-known fashion photographer Wing Shya co-direct the film, which will screen on February 11.

Shya has shot stills for many of Wong Kar-wai's films and is one of the most in-demand photographers among stars.

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