The Flowers of War | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 141 minutes · 2011

Drama, Historical Drama, War
This historical drama by Chinese director Zhang Yimou may not stack up to his magisterial actioner House of Flying Daggers (2004), but it's more focused and deeply felt than his last three U.S. releases (Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, Curse of the Golden Flower, and A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop). Set amid the rape of Nanking, it stars Christian Bale as an American who takes cover inside the walls of a Catholic convent and becomes the reluctant guardian of not only the virginal Chinese schoolgirls within but also a gaggle of prostitutes who show up at the gates begging for shelter from the rampaging Japanese army. Bale admirably shoulders the burden of Western identification figure, but the heart of the story is the ongoing tension between the schoolgirls and the hookers, who see in each other aspects of womanhood that are out of their respective reach. In English and subtitled Mandarin.
Director: Zhang Yimou
Cast: Christian Bale, Ni Ni and Huang Tianyuan

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