International Trailer for Zhang Yimou’s THE FLOWERS OF WAR Starring Christian Bale

     October 20, 2011


The international trailer for Zhang Yimou’s war drama The Flowers of War (formerly 13 Flowers of Nanjing) has gone online.  Christian Bale stars as a Jesuit priest in a story about a group of people who take refuge inside a cathedral as the invading Japanese Imperial Army takes over Nanking in 1937.  If you want any further clarification on that plot, the trailer may not help you out.  Whereas most trailer we see provide some kind of narrative or over-arching theme, this one is a mish-mash of important scenes that don’t seem to have any particular order.  In one scene Bale is acting heroic and responsible and in another he’s drunk and looking for whores and it’s tough to see how he got from A to B.  Yimou looks like he’s pulled off some interesting battles that almost look like he’s trying to blend the wuxia style of his Hero with the gritty war-is-hell cinematography of a movie like Saving Private Ryan.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  40% of the movie is in English and the rest is in Mandarin and Japanese.  No U.S. release date has been announced, but The Flowers of War is China’s official entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, so we should expect to see the film sometime in 2012. [Update: We’ve received the official synopsis and have posted it after the jump.]

Trailer via Twitch.

Here’s the official synopsis:



In 1937, Nanking stands at the forefront of a war between China and Japan. As the invading Japanese Imperial Army overruns China’s capital city, desperate civilians seek refuge behind the nominally protective walls of a western cathedral. Here, John Miller (CHRISTIAN BALE), an American trapped amidst the chaos of battle and the ensuing occupation takes shelter, joined by a group of innocent schoolgirls and thirteen courtesans, equally determined to escape the horrors taking place outside the church walls.  Struggling to survive the violence and persecution wrought by the Japanese army, it is an act of heroism which eventually leads the seemingly disparate group to fight back, risking their lives for the sake of everyone. Through treacherous surroundings and facing unimaginable evil, THE FLOWERS OF WAR, inspired by true life events, manages to tell a genuine story of hope, love and sacrifice. With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, fate always has a way of bringing the most unlikely heroes together.

Adapted from Geling Yan’s historical novel 13 Flowers of Nanjing (Harvill Secker / Random House; 2012), THE FLOWERS OF WAR stars Academy Award® winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter; The Dark Knight) as John Miller, an American trapped within the besieged city of Nanking when it is invaded by the Japanese Army. The ensemble includes 13-year-old Zhang Xinyi, here in her first film role as Shu, an innocent school girl who along with her fellow classmates is taken under Miller’s protective wing.

The supporting cast includes: newcomer Huang Tianyuan as George, a young boy charged with protecting the sanctuary and its refugees; Tong Dawei (Apple; Red Cliff) as Major Li, a war-weary soldier determined to save the life of a wounded  compatriot;  Atsuro Watabe (A Quiet Life; Shizukana Seikatsu) as Colonel Hasegawa, commander of the occupying Japanese army; Shigeo Kobayashi (Todai) as Lt. Kato, his ruthless sidekick, and popular Chinese television presenter, Cao Kefan, as Mr. Meng, a Chinese civilian who will do anything to save the life of his daughter.

THE FLOWERS OF WAR is directed by internationally acclaimed and award-winning Chinese filmmaker, Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers; Hero; Raise the Red Lantern).  The screenplay (adapted from the novel by Geling Yan) is written by Liu Heng, whose previous screenplays for Zhang Yimou include The Story of Qui Ju and Ju Dou. The film is produced by Zhang Weiping (here marking his tenth collaboration with Zhang Yimou) under his New Pictures Film banner.  The executive producers are ChaoYing Deng and David Linde.


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