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The Flowers of War

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The Flowers of War

Subject: Film Review: The Flowers of War
Original title in chinese: Jin ling shi san chai
Year: 2011
Writers: Heng Liu (screenplay) Geling Yan (novel)
Featured actors: Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Xinyi Zhang

The setting of this movie is Nanking, China 1937. It explores the rape of Nanking by Japanese soldiers. Christian Bale plays a Westerner who finds refuge in a church. After the Japanese take over the city, Bale winds up pretending he is a priest and he takes on the huge task of trying to protect about 12 school girls and 16 women who have also taken refuge there from the red light district.

This movie is an interesting exploration of the unspeakable acts that occured during the rape of Nanking. Some of the scenes were hard for me to watch and I would not show the movie from beginning to end for a group of high school students. It is rated R and many parts may be to sexual to use in the classroom. Some of the shooting scenes reflect what a video game from the angle of first person may look like. Students may get an idea from the war scenes of how heroic the Chinese soldiers were that were outnumbered by the Japanese soldiers. They also get an idea of what happens when soldiers do not stick to a code of honor and take advantage of civilians.

I do recommend this movie, although many critics say it is full of cliches. I enjoyed it despite this. I also think some of the cinematography in the church was beautiful.