A Chinese filmmaker reportedly changed the title of his upcoming film from Moses on the Plain to Fire on the Plain to avoid offending the Chinese Communist Party with a biblical name.
The film, which is adapted from the novel Moses on the Plain by Shuang Xuetao, tells of a homicide case of a taxi driver.
According to Radio Free Asia, the film's director, Zhang Ji, announced the sudden name change at the International Film Festival in Beijing. According to Zhang, he renamed the movie because it features multiple elements of fire.
"In this movie, we use more elements of fire," he told reporters. "I hope that fire can be used to open up time and space, and to open up emotions, and hope that fire can shine through. In our lives, we hope to bring some light and strength to everyone. "
When asked by reporters if the name "Moses" was problematic, the filmmaker refused to answer.
According to The Christian Post, Pastor Liu Yi, the founder of the "Chinese Christian Justice Fellowship," said he believes the film was renamed because the Chinese government is trying to remove anything related to Christianity from the public sphere.
"Moses is not only a biblical name but also a national hero of the Israelis," he told Radio Free Asia. "Are the authorities afraid of the positive meaning of this name? For example, he once led the Israelis to resist the Egyptians tyranny, striving for national freedom and liberation.
With the removal of Moses from the film title, Yi asked how other Christian-themed works would be introduced, such Michelangelo's "David" and Leonardo's "Last Supper"?
"If the Chinese government wants to decouple, it can only return to the extremely closed North Korea or the Cultural Revolution of the Mao era," he continued.
As reported by Variety magazine in June, the film was among the "first notable Chinese titles" to have completed shooting since China's COVID-19 outbreak.
The film, starring Chinese actors Zhou Dongyu and Liu Haoran, is scheduled for release this December.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Batuhan Toker
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.