Creative process behind the Chinese working-title of
Egging Chairman Mao – 以卵擊毛
The inspiration of the documentary working title 以卵擊毛 comes from the Chinese four-character idiom 以卵擊石 which differs with the title only by the last word, 毛 vs. 石.
And according to some, it was first used in Mozi‘s (墨子) Book 12 – Esteem for Righteousness (貴義) (segment 17 & 18) and it ended up being the usage that I love the most. It told the story of how Mozi logically refute the prediction or claim of a fortune teller and said,
“My principle is sufficient. To abandon my principle and exercise thought is like abandoning the crop and trying to pick up grains. To refute my principle with one’s own principle is like throwing an egg against a boulder. The eggs in the world would be exhausted without doing any harm to the boulder.“
The actions of Lu Decheng (魯德成), Yu Dongyue (喻東嶽), and Yu Zijian (余志堅) throwing paint-filled eggs onto the portrait of Mao Zedong (毛澤東, Chairman Mao) might have seemed like throwing eggs against a boulder. And Mao was acting like a king when he was alive and was treated like a god during and after his life time.
To some, the destroyed lives of the three men proved that Mao (毛) was the boulder and the three were merely eggs that were ruin. To those that are more optimistic, the word 毛 means feathers and throwing eggs onto a feather will sure makes it really messy and may even be able to lead to the decomposition of the feather in time.
Being a documentarian, I love the double meaning one can interpret from a title. Therefore I will leave it up to you to decide which one (or both) you like better. And as customary to directors, I won’t tell you which one I think is my favourite or if I have any favourite. (smile)