Friday, October 21, 2011

Batman in Nanking

Hat-tip to Hollywood-Elsewhere

Below, the trailer for Zhang Yimou's "Flowers of War," innevitably to be less-pleasantly known as "The Rape of Nanking Movie." The most expensively-mounted film in mainland Chinese history; it's a historical epic about the Japanese occupation of Nanking during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. The main story focuses on a group of Chinese prostitutes who volunteer to swap-places with schoolgirls who've been selected to be sex slaves for the occupying Japanese army. Christian Bale has the ostensible lead as a Priest organizing refugee support efforts and, of perhaps equal importance, existing as an English-speaking white guy to help hold the hands of Western audiences potentially frightened away by all the funny words and dark faces...



Seriously, this looks REALLY good and the material has never really been done this big and attention-getting before... but it's JUST a little bit depressing that even a Chinese-made film from Yimou feels the need to do the Edward Zwick "White hero" thing - yes, even if the character in question was a real guy.

In any case, "Flowers" is now officially China's entry in this year's "Best Foriegn Language" Oscar category, though it won't open in China until December with a U.S. run yet to be determined.

11 comments:

Ralphael said...

DAMN THOSE WHITE HEROS.

IM PUMPED FOR BALE LOSING HIS SHIT ON AND OFF CAMERA WOO HOO

Will said...

This subject has already been covered in gruesome exploitation film fashion in the Men Behind the Sun films, Comfort Girls and Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre.
Recommended to depraved horror buffs only.

Jared said...

To my very limited knowledge of the Nanking massacre, the priest that was there actually played a very pivotal role in disseminating information about the incident and helping people. It is not like he doesn't deserve to have his story told, even if they could make a good movie about Nanking without it.

William said...

Curious if this will do better than the John Rabe movie. An historical drama about real life brave people trying to protect the Chinese is a bit of an easier sell with an American priest than it is with a German member of the Nazi party.

David (The Pants) said...

I see no problem with a "white hero" if he was a real guy.

Bennett said...

Funnily enough, Bale's first movie was also about the Second Sino-Japanese war. And if you haven't seen Empire of the Sun, you really should.

Anonymous said...

City of Life and Death (or Nanking!Nanking! in China), 2009

HolyJunkie said...

Oh wow. The thumbnail image was Christian Bale trying to mirror Donnie Yen in Ip Man.

Subtle... Real subtle. I really lost all ability to care...

All extremist thoughts aside, I'm going to save my money and play The Dark Knight and any Chinese movie based in that time period at once. I guarantee: I'll get a more interesting experience.

Taylor said...

I'm not hopeful about this movie. Yes, the Rape of Nanking is a historical atrocity, one of many committed in the brief history of Imperial Japan.

Unfortunately, I cannot trust Zhang Yimou, who proved in hero that he's been more than willing to serve as a big budget propagandist for the PRC, to make this movie.

Maybe it will be perfect and I'll turn out wrong, but if I had to guess I'm expecting an anti-Japanese movie made to incite anger in the Chinese rather than a movie made to promote understanding and healing.

HolyJunkie said...

Understanding and healing- brought to the Chinese by a religious white man who also happened to have "Be Batman three times" on his resume.

I'm really not looking forward to how this experiment will turn out...

Dunn said...

I'm sorry? "made to incite anger in Chinese?" Tell you what, if you want to keep portraying your Nazi soldiers as mindless murder machines in your WWII related productions, we get to do the same with our Imperial Jap infantries, otherwise we'll all leave all that behind us in history lessons.