The Flowers of War
Although nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2012 Oscar Ceremony, Zhang ("Hero") Yimou’s epic film "Flowers of War" was criminally overlooked at the box-office and failed to really be touted by critics. Reportedly the most expensive Chinese film production to date, "Flowers of War" is the story of an American mortician (Christian Bale) who finds refuge in a church where a group of prostitutes are hiding from the Japanese during the rape of Nanking in 1937. Joining them there are a group of schoolgirls whose lives become entwined with the women in heartbreaking and tragic ways.
Most of the film takes place in and around a Catholic church where Bale’s John Miller gets trapped after tending to a priest’s funeral. Soon enough, he reluctantly finds himself the only male adult having to protect the lives of the girls and the prostitutes - ultimately making personal sacrifices along the way.
Starring a cast of relative unknowns, "Flowers" is a phenomenally gorgeous film. The story is so riveting and the characters so well drawn that sequences of violence and rape are hard to watch. In this, Yimou does not shy away from the graphic. Even so, the film has a bit of Spielbergian scope to it that works well in pulling the audience in and making us care for the characters. And with such a large cast, there are a lot of people to pay attention to. Regardless, this is a highly moving film that will wow you with its exquisite filmmaking, its stunning cinematography, and its ability to break your heart.
Special Features include the Trailer, as well as a feature-length six-part documentary on the making of the film that gives fascinating insight into the obstacles the filmmakers had to overcome, and how the cast dealt with their first time as actors. It’s pretty compelling stuff.
"Flowers of War"