AS he was overseeing rehearsals for the monumental, multimillion-dollar opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with its cast of 15,000 and fireworks extravaganza, the film director Zhang Yimou faced enormous pressure. Hoping for a distraction, he turned to a book. But far from light entertainment, it was a novel called “13 Female Martyrs of Nanjing.”
I got the chance to see Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War, about a story of two different set of women gathered in a Roman Catholic Church during the Japanese Occupation of Nanjing in China. It was the most expensive Chinese film ever produced, to the tune of US$90 million. And the cinematography is obviously well-crafted, reminiscent of that Holocaust movie The Pianist.
The movie is so emotionally charge, and painful to watch. It makes my heart break every 5 minutes.