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Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Flowers of War (2011, Chinese)

Director: Yimou Zhang

Flowers of War
Set in 1937 during hte 2nd Sino-Japanese war--with the 'rape of Nanking' at its full intensity--Flowers of War focuses on a group of young girls, some prostitutes, last few surviving Chinese soldiers resisting the Japanese invasion, an adopted orphaned boy, and an American Mortician disguised as a priest. All sheltering in and around a Convent declared as protected. 

It is another good film by Yimou Zhang but not in the same league as 'Hero' or 'House of Flying Daggers' and seemed a little over stretched. For its length, it could have thrown some light on the circumstance of war-weary, frustrated Japanese soldier as well, instead of just showcasing them as an army from hell--a war film covering both the opposing sides automatically becomes that more special.

Feats of valor aren't uncommon in face of adversity, be it the prostitutes, Major Li or young George they all look like some actual Chinese who stood tall in the gruesome war and made sacrifices for their home. But, an American priest didn't make much sense--not that Christian Bale didn't do justice to his role. This would have still been alright had the director been some American, however, coming from an A-list Chinese director/writer/author, this is bizarre. All the other characters in the film are very believable and it actually seems an account of some real event, except the American priest character messes it a bit.       

The trademark Yimou Zhang cinematography is on display again, he indeed is a very special director. The way he plays with colors and camera is simply exemplary--breaking of glass, shattering of window, the resulting sounds, the reflection of light; he combines such miniscule things in a well-knit detailed sequence, like only he can, and presents it on-screen as some masterpiece of art. You, as an audience, are only left gaping over his marvel. What more, the man makes a bomb blast look like some celebration of sorts and yet highlight the pain and trauma within (more specifically, Major’s death scene). 

A good watch.

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  1. More on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1410063/


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