金陵十三釵 The Flowers of War: First Look

Posted by Grey Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Daily Zombies takes a first look at China's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards and reportedly its most expensive film ever, The Flowers of War (金陵十三釵).

Formerly known as "Nanjing Heroes and 13 Flowers of Nanjing", The Flowers of War has had its fair share of publicity due to its reputation as China's most expensive film in history with an estimated production budget of $94 million, and perhaps more importantly for being the first-ever collaboration between Academy Award winning actor Christian Bale and renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (张艺谋).

Based on the novel The 13 Women of Nanjing (金陵十三釵) by Chinese writer Geling Yan (嚴歌苓), The Flowers of War is a period epic war drama set in 1937 in Nanjing, China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Those familiar with history of World War II would know exactly what a hellish time that would be, being the setting for Nanking Massacre. With the capital city being ran over by the invading Japanese Imperial Army, a motley crew of desperate civilians including thirteen courtesans and a group of innocent school girls hid behind the walls of a church run by John Miller, a Jesuit priest played by Christian Bale.

With Zhang Yimou at helm and Bale, fresh off his Academy Award winning turn in The Fighter, on board, we can certainly understand the strong vote of confidence the Chinese investors have with this one.

Hit the jump to check out the US trailer, followed by the first trailer for the film.





Here’s the synopsis for the film:

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. Through treacherous surroundings and facing unimaginable evil, THE FLOWERS OF WAR, inspired by true life events, manages to tell a genuine story of hope, love and sacrifice. With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, fate always has a way of bringing the most unlikely heroes together.

Set for a limited release in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco sometime in late December after its worldwide premiere in China on December 16th, the film's North American distribution rights have been acquired by Wrekin Hill Entertainment, in association with Row 1 Productions. Here's the official press release behind the acquisition.

ZHANG YIMOU’S THE FLOWERS OF WAR – CHINA’S OSCAR ENTRY – GOES TO WREKIN HILL IN ASSOCIATION WITH ROW 1 PRODUCTIONS

Epic Starring Christian Bale Will Open In Late December 2011 Following Its Wide Release on Dec. 16 in China


Los Angeles, CA (November 7, 2011) — Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that his company, in association with Row 1 Productions, have acquired the North American distribution rights to award-winning Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) and producer Zhang Weiping’s THE FLOWERS OF WAR starring Academy Award® winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight). The film has been selected as this year’s official foreign language entry for China at the Academy Awards. Wrekin Hill, in association with Row 1, will open the film in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in late December 2011 and the film will then expand through early 2012.

THE FLOWERS OF WAR will have a wide release in China on December 16th following three premiere events in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Chris Ball, President and CEO of Wrekin Hill said, “FLOWERS OF WAR just blew me away. Not only is it incredibly powerful but the artistry is absolutely sensational. We are really excited to be bringing this wonderful film to North American audiences. It follows in the tradition of some of the classic films we have had the privilege of releasing over the past decade. I am also thrilled that Row 1 shares our passion for the film.”

Producer Zhang Weiping said: “We were very impressed by the passion that Wrekin Hill and Row 1 showed for the film. Their aggressive release strategy coupled with their desire to focus on an effective awards campaign for THE FLOWERS OF WAR immediately captured our attention. We are thrilled to be in their very capable hands and in bringing this powerful and emotionally engaging film to North American audiences.”

Based on a screenplay by Heng Liu (The Story of Qiu Ju), THE FLOWERS OF WAR is adapted from Geling Yan’s historical novel 13 Flowers of Nanjing. The film is a work of historical fiction set against the backdrop of the Rape of Nanking, a brutal chapter in the Sino-Japanese War, which was a significant event in Chinese history. Produced and fully financed by Zhang Weiping under his New Pictures Film banner, THE FLOWERS OF WAR is inspired by true life events, and tells a genuine story of hope, love and sacrifice.

Set 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 (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.

THE FLOWERS OF WAR is executive produced by David Linde, Chaoying Deng, and Bill Kong. International sales are handled by FilmNation Entertainment. The deal was negotiated by executive producers Linde and Deng along with attorney Stephen Saltzman of Loeb & Loeb on behalf of the filmmaker, Zhang Weiping, by Chris Ball and Rene Cogan on behalf of Wrekin Hill and Brandt Andersen on behalf of Row 1.


And here are some of the posters for the film, followed by some of the set images released thus far.






















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