Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Film: The Flowers of War

Epic tale of young women desperate to survive the Japanese invasion of Nanking in 1937. China's Oscar entry for Best Foreign-Language Film offers powerfully realistic and inventive war scenes. Alas, some of the dialogue may register as a bit too saccharine for Western ears.

Adapted by Liu Heng from the novel by Yan Geling, The Flowers of War offers two distinct species of "flowers”: One group consists of beautiful courtesans on the run, while the other encompasses cloistered schoolgirls who sing in the church choir and who deeply mourn the recent death of their Catholic priest. To save both the prostitutes and the adolescent girls—who recoil from any association with fallen angels—Miller must put on the Father's black robes and emulate priestly behavior. Gradually, he acquires a new dignity and compassion. He stops trying to bed the sultry leader of the courtesans, Yo Mo (Ni Ni), and begins to treat her like the clever, formidable survivor that she is.

Christian Bale in China from China Buzz

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