Hot Trailer: 'The Flowers Of War'

A 20-minute snippet of the Christian Bale-starring The Flowers Of War, China’s official entry into the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar race, was shown to buyers last month at the Toronto Film Festival. Now comes a trailer for Zhang Yimou’s true-life drama set against the backdrop of the 1937 Nanking Massacre (the film had been titled Heroes Of Nanking). It will be a unique property to market for whoever acquires U.S. rights: The film is about 60% Mandarin-language and 40% English; in this trailer, there are subtitles for both. The film will have its world premiere in Beijing on Dec. 16.

  1. Christian Bale be rockin it out. He’s in the most diverse films. He’s a method machine. Hardest working actor in Hollywood.

    1. Agree. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this is one of those fake trailers they do on Funny or Die. Talk about overwrought, loud and predictable. Hope I’m wrong, but … probably won’t be.

      1. You are entitled to your opinion and so am I. Thus, here goes: You are a pathetic human being who can’t say anything nice. I feel bad for you so it’s alright if you reply and shower me with tirades, I’d understand.

        1. Dottie,

          Your ignorance is amazing because you criticize others without fully reading their posts. Now you claim you’re entitled to your misinformed opinion.

          Basically, you say that others can criticize China when you know that any criticism of it has been met with harsh retaliation by Beijing. Western filmmakers like Martin Scorsese who express views disapproved of by the regime see their work banned from the country. Notice how none of his later films played there after he made Kundun in 1997.

          How many films coming out of China show how the Chinese have victimized their neighbors like the Cambodians, Koreans, Tibetans, and Vietnamese? Yeah, that’s right. None. They should give it a rest on lecturing to others about history when they’re so unwilling to examine their own sordid past.

          In other words, you’re like the Chinese Communist Party: a bunch of disingenuous hypocrites who feel they can say anything but want to prevent others from exercising their right to freedom of speech.

          Flowers of War has been submitted for an Oscar, meaning it’s got official approval from the Chinese government. It’s not a well-kept secret that Beijing actively champions Zhang as the IT director. His career has skyrocketed only after he began toeing the party line.

  2. It looks like a specialty movie in the US, I heard they wanted a wide release. I just don’t see America turning up for this unless it platforms. You can’t just throw guns and explosions and Bale in the trailer.

    1. AGREED. love christian bale, can lose the melodramatics, and strangely what is bothering me the most is the effects..

  3. Chistian Bale is one of the finest actors working today. A man who will take real chances. Good choice, good actor, good film.

  4. That trailer gave me chills on two levels. One: the story looks pretty fantastic. Thrilling and emotional without being overtly melodramatic. And two:. The world’s growing into smaller place. Don’t we need more movies that don’t fear alienating audiences by featuring foreign languages. Doesn’t it make the setting come alive? Doesn’t it give the cross-cultural conflicts juice? Be bold, baby, be bold!.

    Aliveness for everyone. Long live juice…

    1. There’s something funny about these Chinese films. On one hand, the Chinese are always making films condemning the Japanese for killing Chinese people in WWII, even though the Chinese Communist Party killed more Chinese people from 1949 to present day — e.g. look at the disastrous policies of Chairman Mao — but this fact is not explored in Chinese films today. On the other hand, if you produce a film criticizing China, the Chinese government gets really upset, like it did by threatening Iceland with economic and political repercussions when a documentary about Tibet (When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun) played at a local film festival in 2010. China wants to be a superpower but cannot stand criticism. Strange. This film by Yimou Zhang is more about making money by portraying Chinese people as perpetual victims and stirring nationalistic anger/pride. My friends, family, and I doubt it will be a good film. Odd that China does not like Hollywood but wants Oscar recognition at the same time.

      1. If by victim you meant to say how the Army of the Empire of Greater Japan murdered more than 350,000 Chinese civilians in cold blood, then you’d be correct.

        IJA forces later razed Manila to the ground and murdered 100,000 Filipinos civilians.

        Oh, and by murder I mean to say; firing artillery into urban population centers, standing orders to shoot all civilians seen in and around Manila and orders to murder all prisoners of war held in detention.

        Mao is a different era.

        1. those people murdered in the rape of Nanking – it was also only in a 6-8 week period. And those that were saved was mostly due to the efforts of ex-pats. Including a high up Nazi. But don’t try to justify bad behavior (Japanese in china) with worse (PRC).

          And regarding the Chinese govt crackdown on negatives films about China post WWII – duh! It is a repressive communist regime. what do you expect? the ONLY reason they are allowing capitalism is they cannot continue to support the population that size. So they will continue to allow capitalism but not democracy for as long as they can.

          1. @jay: When is criticizing the PRC for being hypocritical the same as justifying Japanese misdeeds? It’s not. If anything, more people here like 13times, from china, and Dottie are making excuses for the PRC. The PRC harasses people who portray it in a negative light in movies, TV shows, books, newspaper articles, interviews, etc. This contradicts the promises it made to the IOC to improve human rights in return for getting the Olympics to come to Beijing in 2008. Those promises weren’t kept. Obviously, human rights including freedom of speech in the PRC have deteriorated.

        2. A different era? I hate to break it to you … but Chairman Mao was active during WWII. Several years after the war, his regime came to power and began brutally oppressing Chinese people, resulting in tens of millions of deaths. It’s the height of hypocrisy for China to keep making movies that demonize the Japanese in a war that ended over 65 years ago and pull on the audience’s heartstrings for justice while ignoring and creating pathetic excuses for the outrageous crimes it committed against Chinese people. By the way, the Chinese government even built a mausoleum to house Mao’s dead corpse in Beijing, despite his status as the greatest mass murderer in modern history! Since 1949, China has been the aggressor in Asia. For example, it actively supported Pol Pot’s regime, and we all know how that turned out…

          1. I think ultimately ignorance makes the worst teachers. China has been guilty of many human rights violations. That is true, but the massacre of Nanking is also true. As are the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. When did telling the truth become ‘demonizing’? If anyone would like to make a movie about how the Chinese brutalized or murdered the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese wars, by all means please do so. Truth never changes, not after a day, not after a decade, a century or even a millennium.

          2. @Dottie: You obviously can’t read, can you? The point some of these guys are making is this: the People’s (that’s a real joke) Republic of China punishes those who make movies or TV shows critical of it with sanctions, even if that criticism is really small. That’s why movies and TV shows generally steer clear of making the PRC look bad in any way. “Please do so”? Pray tell, how in this environment? In terms of trade, the PRC is in violation of WTO rules over the restriction of its domestic market to foreign movies. Put another way, the PRC wants to flood foreign markets with its movies while it prevents foreign movies from being shown in its theaters. IT’S CALLED HYPOCRISY AND IT’S ANNOYING. That’s why I have a hard time caring. “Telling the truth”? Blah. Blah. Blah. This is a movie, remember? It’s all about raking in the dough and hopefully winning accolades to prop up legitimacy for the PRC, because the CCP line is how everything is better now that it’s in power. Did you see the trailer? The movie looks campy, like a wannabe Last Samurai with some subpar visual effects.

      2. You know nothing about my country, care you own business.
        And, don’t call yourself chinese, you are from malaysia, call yourself malaysian, thank you.

        1. You gotta love communist d-bags.

          I think it’s revealing that you can’t even show how he’s wrong. You just resort to some childish comment that he should mind his own business. What he said about Chinese movies is true. If you actually cared about the welfare of Chinese people, you wouldn’t be trying to silence others.

          If that guy doesn’t agree with you, he isn’t Chinese, huh? How tolerant of you… No wonder tons of people want to leave China… LOL. Technically, his ethnicity is Chinese, his nationality is Malaysian. That would still make him CHINESE. You need to brush up on those logical reasoning and language skills, comrade. I’m so glad my parents left China to find a better place to live in.

  5. Zhang Yimou is one of the finest filmmakers working in cinema today. Loved RAISE THE RED LANTERN, JU DOU and his gangster epic SHANGHAI TRIAD. He’s suck a stunningly visual director. This just shot up to my #1 on my to see list.

    1. Yimou Zhang sold out a long time ago. I have doubts about him directing “good” films anymore. He made Hero and House of Flying Daggers. Really bad commercial films that are slow and melodramatic. Hero’s message was just terrible — e.g. surrender by sacrificing yourself to the crazy notion that you will get unity in the future. That is cowardly and weak. This trailer for The Flowers Of War makes me laugh: the sniper shooting a grenade or the soldier jumping off the roof onto a tank with dynamite to blow it up. So cheesy!!! Maybe there will be Shaolin monks cutting down Japanese troops with guan daos at the end of the film.

  6. Looks great to me and also looks like it’s worth seeing in a theater — can’t say the same for a lot of the home grown Hollywood movies out there right now.

  7. Although it’s a cliche at this point, Bale is the best actor of his generation, and probably the best we have working in film today. I’ve been looking forward to this film since reading the backstory on Nanking and the atrocities done there. That said… this trailer worries me. Something about it looks… overwrought. Too drama for drama’s sake, if that makes sense. What’s troubling is that it could just be the trailer itself. I don’t think it’s very well done. Unless you’ve read about this project, I don’t think audiences will make heads of tails of the plost here; there is no real attempt to clarify the story. It’s just a barrage of Bale and war. Even the graphics are a little lame. An American distributor needs to pick it up pronto, and get a good marketing company on a new trailer if it has a prayer of being seen by American audiences. I am hoping the best for all involved.

    1. I don’t think Hollywood studio filmmaking style is to blame. After all, Hollywood has put out some good, entertaining movies over the years: The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, etc. Yimou Zhang just lacks the aptitude for making blockbusters. Judging from the preview, it looks like crap, and the story doesn’t seem all too clear. I wonder if there’s going to be a video game tie-in? LOL.

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