The Flowers of War (2012)

In 1937, Nanking stands at the forefront of a war between China and Japan. As the invading Japanese Imperial Army overruns China’s capital city, desperate civilians seek refuge behind the nominally protective walls of a western cathedral. Here, John Miller (CHRISTIAN BALE), an American trapped amidst the chaos of battle and the ensuing occupation takes shelter, joined by a group of innocent schoolgirls and thirteen courtesans, equally determined to escape the horrors taking place outside the church walls. Struggling to survive the violence and persecution wrought by the Japanese army, it is an act of heroism which eventually leads the seemingly disparate group to fight back, risking their lives for the sake of everyone. Through treacherous surroundings and facing unimaginable evil, THE FLOWERS OF WAR, inspired by true life events, manages to tell a genuine story of hope, love and sacrifice. With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, fate always has a way of bringing the most unlikely heroes together.

Adapted from Geling Yan’s historical novel 13 Flowers of Nanjing (Harvill Secker / Random House; 2012), THE FLOWERS OF WAR stars Academy Award® winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter; The Dark Knight) as John Miller, an American trapped within the besieged city of Nanking when it is invaded by the Japanese Army. The ensemble includes 13-year-old Zhang Xinyi, here in her first film role as Shu, an innocent school girl who along with her fellow classmates is taken under Miller’s protective wing. More »
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  1. Leo Lee

    This movie stumbles upon a extremely sensitive topic in Chinese history, and should be treated seriously.

    My great Grandmother's village during wartime was ransacked by the Japanese army with her barely escaping. Being a Chinese Canadian, I almost walked out of the theatre half way through the movie the moment I saw prolonged rape scenes of children.

    Yes, during the NanKing massacre, Chinese children and even infants were raped and slaughtered like animals. Yes, Chinese women were raped repeatedly and bayonneted between the legs. Yes, it was a dark and inhumane time in Chinese history. But that does not justify the over exaggerated yet artistic camera work on prolonged rape and murder scenes of children and Chinese Women.

    It seems the director was trying to evoke a certain emotional reaction by referencing random scenes from fiction films like grindhouse, yet falls flat with plot holes such as when Chinese soldiers lined up to be killed in a row, or the ludicrous storyline for 2 women to be wandering outside the church, then gang raped and killed by the Japanese soldiers.

    I'm unsure if the director even have a clue as to why events of NanKing took place. Before the Japanese even arrived in NanKing, The KMT pulled out of NanKing with soldiers looting, killing and beheading other Chinese believed to be CCP officers, leaving locals (or what's left of them) to fend for themselves, yet in the film, they're branded glorious heroes. The CCP during this time were hiding in caves and could only use guerrila warfare against the Japanese. When the Japanese surrendered, Chairman Mao refused payment from the Japanese for warcrimes (hence no proof of what happened in NanKing), and he even thanked them for weakening the KMT in order for the CCP to rise in power.

    All in all, what I felt after walking out of the theatre was disgust for the director's lack of sympathy and respect for real history, while capitalizing on utilization of high end camera work for scenes of rape, pedophilia and brutality.

    2 years agoby @Leo-LeeFlag