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The Flowers of War

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Richard Rosales
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The Flowers of War

"The Flowers of War" is a wartime movie directed by Chinese director Yi-Mou Zhang set in 1937.  Christian Bale stars as an american hustler in China who is a drunk and a unscrupulous man who is out to profit from exploiting opportunities to pilfer money and goods from the collapsing villages.  Bale encounters a religious school where young chinese students are hidden and slowly begins to form a bond with them.  He also takes in a group of chinese prostitutes who he also eventually bonds with.  He poses as a priest because american priests have a certain immunity with the Japonese and plots to help the students escape the brutal Japanese oppressors. 

     This movie reflects Zhangs perspective of the period of the Nanjing Massacre of 1937. Consequently, the Japanese are portrayed as heartless, inhuman and completely devoid of morals.  Although this wasn't Bale's best performance, he did and adequate job in making this movie a watchable film.  Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  It motivated me to learn more about this time period and how it affected the current ideology that exists in modern China.

    Although, this film is not appropriate for 4th graders, the lessons of imperialism and how it affected people of all cultures is valuable.  In 4th grade curriculum students are exposed to Spanish imperialism on the western portion of North America.  Parallels can be drawn to the invasion of China by the Japanese.