A Chinese filmmaker behind a movie with a title that includes the name “Moses” was suddenly rebranded to avoid offending the country’s communist regime.
During a red carpet appearance Sept. 20, director Zhang Ji told reporters the film — originally titled “Moses on the Plain” — would be renamed “Fire on the Plain,” according to Radio Free Asia.
“In this movie, we use a lot of fire as an element,” Zhang said after reporters asked him why he changed the name of the film, slated to release in December. “I hope that we can use fire to connect different time and space, emotions, and that it can shine into our lives.”
“I hope it can bring everyone brightness and strength,” he added
Father Francis Liu of the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness believes the true motivation behind the film’s name change is because Moses is a biblically significant character.
“Moses is not only a biblical name, but also a national hero of the Israelites,” he told Radio Free Asia. “Are the authorities afraid of the positive significance of this name? For example, he once led the Israelites to resist Egyptian tyranny and strive for national freedom and liberation.”
The release of this movie — and its subsequent renaming — comes not long after the Chinese government removed Bible apps and Christian accounts from WeChat, a Chinese social media platform.
Bible apps have also been removed from the App Store in China and hard copies of the Bible are not available for sale online.
As for the movie, among the “first notable Chinese titles” to have completed shooting since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the country, it is a film adaptation of a novel by the same name. The story, set in the industrial northeast, follows a man investigating the murder of a taxi driver, according to Variety.
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