Zhang Yamou’s fact-based drama The Flowers Of War is China’s entry into Oscar’s foreign-language race and the nation’s most expensive movie ever at a budget of almost $100 million.

It was not the ideal Happy New Year’s movie, but I have wanted to check it out for a week, so why not do it in the last day of 2011?  In the end, I used lots and lots of tissues…

Based on Yan Geling’s novel “13 Flowers of Nanjing”  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.

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