If you've watched the 2011 film The Flowers of War, we can probably agree on the loaded historical controversies well-depicted in nearly every scene of this fast-paced experience. We can also probably agree that this isn't the movie you'll want to choose if you're looking for a quiet, relaxing couple of hours. This was a big movie with an even bigger vision--and East Asian politics aside, it was clearly produced by expert filmmakers.
Director Zhang Yimou, a veteran director/producer from mainland China, is no amateur when it comes to his country's oftentimes stringent and complex approaches to artistic expression. Starring Christian Bale, the film documents the story of a Westerner stuck in Nanking during the then-capital's fall to the Japanese army.
Zhang shared his perspective on being an internationally-successful filmmaker vis-a-vis China's political landscape at last week's Marrakech International Film Festival (interview highlights here), where he was given a special festival tribute for his works.
While Flowers of War wasn't the biggest commercial success in the US, other aspects of the project seem to continue to move forward. Christian Bale was soon involved in a highly-publicized situation regarding an attempted meeting with blind activist Chen Guangcheng, and Hollywood now looks abroad for future film projects more than ever before. This kind of movie--not Hollywood-based but starring well-known Western actors--is probably a sign of more to come.