|Index||5 reviews in total|
Real bad effects, but nice story, actually the first movie I saw in Chinese TV which is not just Japan bashing. Instead it really tries to take a different approach, remarkable for a Chinese movie. Also compared to the directors earlier works, which were merely propaganda movies. I hope that this start of a new way to reflect about the past, away from the stereotypes. An similar development which also took place in western war movies. In this movie Japanese are not only shown as inhumane, sadistic monsters, but you could see the fascist machinery behind the system, literally eating its own children. Finally I hope it helps to improve Chinese-Japanese relations too.
Setting is the last week of WWII in a remote corner of Japanese
controlled northeast China (Manchuko). The central characters are a
small group left stranded in a forest following the initial Russian
attack and subsequent chaos. They must depend upon each other despite
their differing nationalities (Chinese, Russian, Japanese). This
dynamic is interwoven with flashbacks and a few battle scenes.
The film is straightforward, moving, and strongly anti-war. Little attempt is made to develop the main characters, yet I was still drawn to and concerned about the welfare of each of them. It's an emotionally powerful film with a surreal simplicity, flow and score.
The soldiers and civilians depicted are all totally emotionally drained by years of war, resigned to their fates, going through the motions, albeit sane or insane. Much of this is simply conveyed by the looks on their faces.
The special effects in the battle sequences are extremely poor by 2001 standards. However, since there is no attempt to convey military strategy or tactics, this does not detract from the film all that much. The net effect is to supply the necessary combat scenes without breaking the haunting flow of the film.
Note: the translations given on the English subtitles of the DVD I rented were very poor.
Told in flashback this is literally the story of the last days of World
War Two in China. Days before the end the Soviets enter the Pacific war
and begin attacking Japanese outposts in China. One raid saves a
Chinese man from a firing squad and it isn't long before he's heading
back to the Soviet base. A wrong turn and the convoy he's in ends up in
a Japanese camp. A battle ensues and the Chinese man and two Soviet
soldiers end up fleeing into the wilderness where they come across two
Japanese girls. From this point the film follows the trek across the
open country to get to safety.
The battle scenes are absolutely terrible. While they do have a sense of scale they are ineptly done on the cheap so that human bombs that are suppose to be diving under tanks to blow them up are clearly seen to dive next to the. A sea battle is embarrassing miniatures. If you can get past those then the rest of the movie is interesting, if not a bit preachy.
The majority of the film concerns itself with the dynamic of the various characters as they have to deal with survival, humanity and nationality on the road to safety. How the relationships change is interesting, if not always successful. It gives you food for thought.
Ultimately this is a very good, but flawed anti-war film.
A word of warning. If you are looking to find a copy of this film in English be warned the current translations available are far from good. The import copy I watched was almost unwatchable and I've read a review of a different edition that was equally awful. The titles seems to be literal translations of the words jumbled about. The film is worth seeing, only wait for an official English language release, since the bad translation severely hurts any enjoyment of the film (Rating applies to what a decent translation would make it)
I saw the film last night and it impressed me a lot. It is really a
good film. The film not only focused on the war but also focused on the
humanity that all people in the world share. It told us how war will
destroy the nature of people.
Although the beginning of the film is a little stereotype, the story itself is very smooth. It tells us a story about a Chinese peasant, a Russian woman soldier and a Japanese schoolgirl. The three guys met together by accident and tried to walk out of a forest. The story is really amazing. The end of the film moved me to tears. It seemed that in the war, no one would be the winner.
I think it's much better than the so called "Chinese Big Movies" such as "Golden Flowers" made by Mr.Zhang Yimou and "Banquet" by Mr.Feng Xiaogang.
Mr. Feng Xiaoning,the director of this film, has produced a lot of movies about wars. It seemed that he's really like stories about wars.
The movie is not that bad, and in fact, better than most Chinese movies, but
it is definitely not in the same class of that of other directors, such as
Mr. Yi-Mou Zhang and Mr. Kai-Ge Chen, who were the colleagues and friends of
Mr. Xiao-Ning Feng.
Well, actually, although can not be compared with the movies directed by the other two, but this movie, and all other movie directed by Mr. Xiao-Ning Feng are definitely better than one movie directed by Mr. Kai-Ge Chen, Killing Me Softly (1999).
Mr. Xiao-Ning Feng should return to Chinese Children's Film Studio (no pun intended) because he has proven that he is equally talented in directing movies for adults and children alike, while the other two are mainly talented directors for movies for adults. It's hard to compete with directors like Mr. Yi-Mou Zhang, but there is not much competition in the area of Children's Films.
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