Taoist Priest Protests Film, says Action Movie “Demonizes His Religion”

By Rjruiziii (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Rjruiziii (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Chinese Taoist Association wants the Monk Comes Down the Mountain movie removed from all theatres in China.

Award-winning director Chen Kaige, well-known for his 1993 movie Farewell My Concubine, released a new action movie on July 2 which has already earned $64 million (U.S.), which suggests the movie is both popular and successful.

However, Meng Chongran, vice chairman of the Chinese Taoist Association, wants the movie removed from all theatres in China, WantChinaTimes.com reports.

Monk Comes Down the Mountain tells the story of a Taoist priest with excellent Kung fu who leaves isolation to find his purpose in the world. Set in the 1920s, the priest encounters all types of interesting characters and a world filled with corruption, said yibada.com.

Chongran explained his protestation of the film: “The Taoist priest in the movie broke the commandments as he robbed, killed, got intoxicated, and had sex with a woman, which was misleading.” He went on to say that the film “demonized his religion.” Further, he wanted an apology from Chen.

However, Chongran’s views don’t appear to represent the views of the entire Taoist community. Chen consulted with the Chinese Taoist Association before filming and made changes to the script based on their requests. The association has not publicly backed Chongran’s statements, nor is it clear if Chongran has attached his name to his comments.

Liang Xingyang, a Taoist priest, has a more relaxed view of the movie. He said we all need an “open mind to allow for artistic expression.” He went on to explain, “More people came to know of Taoism because of the film, and people could interpret Taoism either way”.

Monk Comes Down the Mountain is Chen’s largest production to date, in what can only be described as a celebrated career.  Filming and production spanned three years and required 1,000 workers to finish. Columbia Pictures was also involved in the endeavor.


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