People thrown into an unexpected and desperate situation discover their capacity for love and responsibility. A young Englishman, George Hogg, comes to lead sixty orphaned boys on a journey of over 500 perilous miles across the snow-bound Liu Pan Shan mountains to safety on the edge of the Mongolian desert. And how, in doing so, he comes to understand the meaning of courage. During his journey, Hogg learns to rely on the support of Chen, the leader of a Chinese communist partisan group who becomes his closest friend. He soon finds himself falling in love with Lee, a recklessly brave Australian nurse whom war has turned into an unsentimental healer on horseback. Along the way Hogg befriends Madame Wang, an aristocratic survivor who has also been displaced by war, who helps the young Englishman, his friends and their sixty war orphans make their way across mountain and desert regions to a place of safety near the western end of the Great Wall of China. Written by
Marks the first official co-production between Australia and China. See more »
When Hogg photographs the Japanese soldiers rounding up the Chinese civilians from the first floor window overlooking the scene, many of the shots, and the black & white prints later produced by the Japanese officer are clearly taken with a telephoto lens. Hogg's range finder 35mm camera was not fitted with a telephoto lens. See more »
In 1937, the British reporter George Hogg (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) travels to Shanghai expecting to cover the Japanese invasion of Nanking. However, the British consul does not give a visa to him since the Japanese authorities do not want journalists in the capital. George deals with a Red Cross driver that wants to get married and he assumes his identity to travel to Nanking with two other journalists in his truck.
George witness and photographs an execution of dwellers by the Japanese soldiers but he is captured. When the soldier is ready to behead George with a sword, he is saved by the communist Chinese soldier Chen Hansheng, a.k.a. Jack (Yun-Fat Chow). George is wounded by a shot and Jack brings him to the Red Cross camping where the nurse Lee Pearson (Radha Mitchell) heals him. Jack sends George to an orphanage and he becomes responsible for sixty orphans. George improves their lives and every now and then he sees Jack, who has become his friend, and Lee, for whom he has fallen in love. With the Japanese occupation and the civil war between nationalists and communists, George decides to travel of about 800 km to a distant but safe land through the mountains and desert with the orphans.
"The Children of Huang Shi" is a movie based on a true story about the life of a British journalist that saved sixty orphans during the Japanese occupation of China in 1937. The movie has magnificent cinematography and art direction, and a great cast, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Yun-Fat Chow and Michelle Yeoh. However, the narrative is cold and without emotions, and the only touching moment is in the credits, with the testimony of survivors that will certainly touch the heart of the viewer. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Órfãos da Guerra" ("Orphans of the War")
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