7.6/10
45,486
145 user 137 critic

The Flowers of War (2011)

Jin ling shi san chai (original title)
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An American finds refuge during the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanking in a church with a group of women. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.

Director:

Yimou Zhang

Writers:

Heng Liu (screenplay), Geling Yan (novel)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Bale ... John Miller
Ni Ni ... Yu Mo
Xinyi Zhang Xinyi Zhang ... Shu (as Zhang Xinyi)
Tianyuan Huang Tianyuan Huang ... George Chen (as Huang Tianyuan)
Xiting Han Xiting Han ... Yi (as Han Xiting)
Doudou Zhang ... Ling (as Zhang Doudou)
Dawei Tong ... Major Li
Atsuro Watabe Atsuro Watabe ... Colonel Hasegawa
Kefan Cao Kefan Cao ... Mr. Meng (as Cao Kefan)
Yangchunzi Yuan Yangchunzi Yuan ... Mosquito (as Yuan Yangchunzi)
Jia Sun Jia Sun ... Hua (as Sun Jia)
Yuemin Li Yuemin Li ... Dou (as Li Yuemin)
Bai Xue Bai Xue ... Lan
Takashi Yamanaka Takashi Yamanaka ... Lieutenant Asakura
Shigeo Kobayashi Shigeo Kobayashi ... Lieutenant Kato
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Storyline

In 1937 China, during the second Sino-Japanese war, a mortician, John (Christian Bale) arrives at a Catholic church in Nanjing to prepare a priest for burial. Upon arrival he finds himself the lone adult among a group of convent girl students and prostitutes from a nearby brothel. When he finds himself in the unwanted position of protector of both groups from the horrors of the invading Japanese army, he discovers the meaning of sacrifice and honor. Written by msmith5484

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, disturbing images, and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Release Date:

16 December 2011 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

13 Flowers of Nanjing See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$94,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$48,558, 20 January 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$9,213, 19 May 2013

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$95,000,000, 28 July 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Dolby (Dolby Surround 7.1)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2011, director Yimou Zhang selected Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir to be his first protégé and invited her to work closely with him on set during production of this film, as well as another time in the editing room and post-production. See more »

Connections

Spin-off Fourty Nine Days·Fiesta (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Furusato
(Traditional Japanese Song)
Lyrics by Tatsuyuki Takano (1876-1947)
Music Composed by Teiichi Okano (1878-1941)
(performed onscreen by Colonel Hasegawa)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Where does the comedy stop and the drama begin?
16 December 2011 | by tom-240-475761See all my reviews

Watched this movie last night in a packed Beijing cinema on its opening night. First off, I would like to say that Christian Bale traces perfectly the path of enlightenment that follows Wild-West style bandit obsessed with money becoming priest and father-figure in all but religious training. The film is in roughly 50% English, 35% Chinese and 15% Japanese, so there is a real assimilation of different languages and cultures coming together. However, this unfortunately leads to some moments which seem disconcertingly humorous. For example, there is one point where a Japanese general confesses to priest-figure Bale that he likes music; the triviality of such statement in the midst of mass-murder seems absurd enough, but it is also delivered in a dead-pan way with broken English. I could not help but burst out laughing, even though none of the Chinese in the cinema saw any form of humour in it. Indeed, I think that as a Westerner watching this film, my emotional response is not as visceral as it would be to a Chinese person. That is only natural, but it leads to a completely different interpretation of the movie. Some of the murder scenes are brutally horrific to a Chinese person, so much so that the wonderful filmography which permeates throughout the movie may not be fully appreciated. The hues are brown and green, earthy, rugged and militaristic for the most part. Yet there are occasionally beautiful trims of colour, the church's stained-glass window, the clothes on the washing line left out to dry. A sign, no doubt, of the beauty of humanity in the midst of dreadful war. It has been suggested this movie is propaganda. I don't know if I entirely agree with that. There is no positive way to spin what was a shameful event in Japan's history, and for what it's worth I think that Zhang Yimou delineates well the soldiers occasional insecurity, homesickness, and humanisation brought on by paranoia and pressure from above. A movie well-worth watching, and which I would like to watch for a second time to re- establish which moment are intentionally humorous, which moments are unintentionally humorous, and which moments are tragic. Kudos for Zhang Yimou for tackling such a visited topic (That of the Nanjing massacre) which a freshness, and even more kudos to Christian Bale for stepping up to the plate and giving in a great performance.


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