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Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

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Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Old 12-22-10, 10:46 AM
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Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=72582

The Associated Press is reporting that award-winning Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, Raise the Red Lantern) is starting his next project with the working title Nanjing Heroes in January with actor Christian Bale starring as a priest caught up in the brutal 1937 invasion and pillaging of the Chinese capitol by Japanese troops.

The film is based on Chinese author Yan Geling's novel "The 13 Women of Nanjing," about 13 prostitutes who stepped in for female university students who were to be taken as "escorts" for the troops during the period when nearly 20,000 women and girls were raped and killed by the Japanese troops.

The horrifying wartime atrocities known as the "Rape of Nanking" has previously been covered in recent films like the documentary Nanking, Florian Gallenberger's drama John Rabe and the controversial Chinese blockbuster City of Life and Death.

Bale's character is a Catholic priest who shelters a group of prostitutes and female students in his church during the invasion. Zhang said that he picked Bale for his versatility and dedication to his roles with the actor doing an impressive amount of research into the history of the massacre, something that greatly moved the filmmaker.

Director Zhang's $90 million production, which will mix Chinese and English, is slated for a global release in December 2011.
I'm certainly interested.
Old 12-22-10, 10:51 AM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

I wonder if this will be shot in black and white with striking instances of color every here and there.

I think this is a great combo, normally foreign directors directing english actors turns out borderline disasterous, but if anyone can pull it off, it'd be Bale. And at the very least, it'll be a visually striking film.

Bale will be in somewhat familiar territory, as he is joined by his Hollywood special effects team that worked on The Dark Knight, as well as Saving Private Ryan.
Old 12-22-10, 11:38 AM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

I hope that there's not a problem with language/cultural barriers between Zhang and Bale so that Bale ends up doing the entire role in the Batman voice.
Old 12-22-10, 12:09 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

I'm in
Old 12-22-10, 12:16 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Just how many Nanjing/Nanking massacre films are the Chinese producers planning on making?
Enough already, let's move on to other subjects that haven't been covered!
Old 10-20-11, 03:15 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/V_NeDklTjnk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Old 10-20-11, 03:30 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

That trailer was a mess. Is he pimp posing as a priest? Or a pimp who became a priest?
Old 10-21-11, 01:40 AM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Bale looks like a cross between a warlock and a faith healer. I don't know if that's what Zhang wanted or if Bale just tore off the leash. Should be interesting, though this'll be the 5th or 6th Chinese-produced movie about Nanking I've seen (the 3rd with John Magee as a character), and I'm not sure there's much more to say about it.
Old 10-21-11, 01:56 AM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Either way...it's always good to see a new Zhang Yimou film coming out.
Old 10-22-11, 02:50 AM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

looks pretty great, bale can play these crazy charismatic characters like no one else, he's carving his own style into film history
Old 10-22-11, 11:57 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Looks good! Nice trailer.
Old 10-23-11, 03:22 AM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Eh, the trailer is par for the course for a lot of Chinese produced trailers: they like to highlight action over coherent narrative.
Old 10-23-11, 09:22 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Originally Posted by Solid Snake PAC View Post
Either way...it's always good to see a new Zhang Yimou film coming out.
Or as we call him in my household, Leni Riefenstahl.

When Chinese filmmakers get around to making films about the mass starvation caused by Mao's Great Leap Forward, the devastation caused by the Cultural Revolution, and the slaughter at Tiananmen Square, then I'll cut them some slack.
Old 10-24-11, 01:03 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
Or as we call him in my household, Leni Riefenstahl.

When Chinese filmmakers get around to making films about the mass starvation caused by Mao's Great Leap Forward, the devastation caused by the Cultural Revolution, and the slaughter at Tiananmen Square, then I'll cut them some slack.
I'm not sure where this sentiment is coming from. It's only been very recently that the Chinese government has welcomed Zhang Yimou with open arms.

Many of Zhang's early films weren't released in China at all, and the Chinese government even banned his 1994 film, To Live, which was critical of government officials during the Cultural Revolution.

After he pulled his 1999 film, The Road Home, from competition at Cannes because of criticisms that the happy ending made it pro-China, he wrote an open letter that lashed out at the belief in the west that a Chinese film has to be either for the Chinese government or against it. And I think that is applicable to all national cinemas in politically hot areas around the world, not just the Chinese film industry.

Plus, your comment totally ignores the work done by Sixth Generation Chinese filmmakers, which do not paint China in a particularly favorable light. Your comment is akin to saying that Hollywood is a giant propaganda machine because they do not regularly make films about the slaughter of native Americans or the Japanese internment camps of WW2.
Old 10-24-11, 01:53 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

This is getting borderline political, but I want to comment:

Utopian is right about how national cinemas tend to get treated in the West. Whatever is "critical" of the filmmaker's home territory is what tends to get praised, even when such "criticism" is completely in line with national tradition. Like "anti-feudal" samurai films. But in Zhang's case, he really went up against government censorship, and To Live, despite its melodramatic contrivances, made a mockery out of Chairman Mao iconography and ideology.

In the past decade though, he's really become Steven Spielberg, specifically Spielberg of the 80s. He has his "action trilogy set in period times" (Indy Jones/House of the Golden Hero), his "lame remake" (Always/Simple Noodle Story), and now his "historical epic about the Japanese invasion of China starring Christian Bale."
Old 10-24-11, 02:36 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Originally Posted by utopianz14 View Post
I'm not sure where this sentiment is coming from. It's only been very recently that the Chinese government has welcomed Zhang Yimou with open arms.

Many of Zhang's early films weren't released in China at all, and the Chinese government even banned his 1994 film, To Live, which was critical of government officials during the Cultural Revolution.

After he pulled his 1999 film, The Road Home, from competition at Cannes because of criticisms that the happy ending made it pro-China, he wrote an open letter that lashed out at the belief in the west that a Chinese film has to be either for the Chinese government or against it. And I think that is applicable to all national cinemas in politically hot areas around the world, not just the Chinese film industry.

Plus, your comment totally ignores the work done by Sixth Generation Chinese filmmakers, which do not paint China in a particularly favorable light. Your comment is akin to saying that Hollywood is a giant propaganda machine because they do not regularly make films about the slaughter of native Americans or the Japanese internment camps of WW2.
Good points, esp. about the Sixth Generation (think Jia Zhangke). But as for Zhang Yimou, after all that admirable history (and I've seen most of his earlier films), he then turned around and made HERO, an elaborate apologia for a brutal, oppressive Chinese ruling structure--something that no doubt made the current rulers willing to forgive him his earlier films, and then in 2008 he directed the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, a spectacle on a par, if you ask me, with the Nazi ceremony filmed by Riefenstahl for TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, hence the reference I made. (Or one could, I suppose, use Riefenstahl's OLYMPIAD, about the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a similar analogy.) I was opposed to letting Beijing have the Olympics, given their recent history of human rights abuses, esp. in Tibet just months before the Olympics, and I would have been opposed to letting Berlin have the Olympics in 1936.

I'm reminded of Elia Kazan, who made hard-hitting social issue films in the 1940s (GENTLEMEN'S AGREEMENT, BOOMERANG, PINKY), and then, after giving names to HUAC during the anti-Communist witchhunt, turned around and made a film that serves as an apologia for informing--ON THE WATERFRONT. And, if you'll recall, when Kazan got his lifetime achievement Oscar in 1999 just four years before he died, there was great controversy over it including street protests on Oscar night led by elderly blacklist victims, who'd refused to give names. Some people in the Oscar night audience gave Kazan a standing ovation, while others stayed seated and refused to clap. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro presented the award and looked very nervous doing so.

Maybe I'm asking way too much of Zhang and maybe the Nazi reference will seem like quite a stretch to others (but not to me--sorry, but totalitarianism is totalitarianism, whether it manifests in goose-stepping and concentration camps or burning down Tibetan monasteries and locking up any and all dissenters). If Zhang ever writes a book about it all and it gets translated into English, I'll make sure to read it.

I appreciate the responses, though.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 10-24-11 at 02:46 PM.
Old 12-12-11, 08:12 AM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

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Old 12-12-11, 03:11 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

I wonder if this will ever get a release in Japan.
Old 12-12-11, 06:25 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

actually...that's a good question...are films w/ the anti Japanese theme from China or HK released comfortably in Japan?
Old 12-13-11, 04:03 AM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

Originally Posted by Solid Snake PAC View Post
actually...that's a good question...are films w/ the anti Japanese theme from China or HK released comfortably in Japan?

They're released in Japan. Comfortably? I don't think so. There's still quite a bit of censorship/propoganda/revisionist history that goes on in the education system there, some of which spills over into pop culture. But I guess that's the same in all countries, including our own.

I know when I lived there, though, Pearl Harbor was released there without much controversy. It was mainly Josh Harnett's face plastered all over the place.
Old 12-21-12, 04:24 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

This is now available for streaming on Netflix for those that forgot about it like me.
Old 12-21-12, 08:55 PM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

I saw this about a month ago, it was better than I thought it'd be. Had some great action set pieces.
Old 12-22-12, 10:30 AM
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Re: Zhang Yimou's Nanjing Heroes (Late 2011) -- Starring Christian Bale

By the way, this film still doesn't have a release in Japan, very bizarre considering the very high profile Japanese actors and craftsmen that worked on the film. Good film, but not great, and way over budgeted.

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