[The film] certainly stands head and shoulder higher than most of the Chinese films. Yet I found it unsatisfying despite its enormous potential to be a truly great one.
I don’t think it is a propaganda film but rather China’s effort in pushing its film industry onto the world stage and more importantly, director Zhang Yimou’s bid for Oscar, something he got his eyes on for a while. When he read the novelFlowers of the War by famous writer Yan Geling, he became very excited. I remember Yan, a friend, talked about this. I think Zhou saw it as his ticket to Oscar. He had wanted to produce a Chinese version of the Schindler’s list,something profound that reflects the insight of human mind set against a dramatic backdrop, such as a war.
I am afraid that he’ll be disappointed. To me, the film lacks depth. It places far too much emphasis on the American fake priest, played by Hollywood star Christian Bale, brought in perhaps to attract the international audience. But the character is unconvincing as the plot itself: his transformation from a ‘jerk’ to an unselfish noble man is far too abrupt. And we audience don’t know enough about where he was coming from to feel connected with him.
- Why I love Beijing – Zhang Lijia (chinaherald.net)
- Dealing with identity – Zhang Lijia (chinaherald.net)
- Receiving hate-mail after my Yueyue story – Zhang Lijia (chinaherald.net)
- Most sought-after speakers December 2011 (chinaspeakersbureau.info)
- Dealing with Chairman Mao – Zhang Lijia (chinaherald.net)