The Flowers of War ~ A Review
Why It's Important To See
First off, The Flowers of War is a movie, not a documentary. As a movie, it is very well done, very moving, and beautifully made. It is by far one of the best movies I have seen in quite a while. Because of this movie, I am now reading The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang. The reason I'm writing this review is because I don't think this movie has received the attention it deserves from Western audiences and I disagree somewhat with some of the critics' reviews of it. I also want others to watch this movie to raise awareness about the rape of Nanking (now called Nanjing).
What Happened? What is "The Rape of Nanking?"
In December of 1937, Japanese soldiers entered Nanking and raped, pillaged, and murdered as many innocent Chinese as they could. The cruelty of the Japanese massacre knew no bounds. The soldiers raped civilians, raped and killed children, gang raped women, bayoneted them and babies, raped the elderly, forced families to rape each other and slaughtered as many as they could. They thought up cruel and painful deaths for the inhabitants of the city, who were walled in and couldn't escape. The Japanese took pictures of this and also boasted about their murders in Japanese media.
Some Chinese survived because Americans and Europeans were protected because of their race, and 24 of them stayed in the city to help the Chinese. The Japanese couldn't risk infuriating the Americans and Europeans (even though they did by sinking a boat full of them) so the 24 white people who stayed and set up the Nanking safety zone were able to save thousands of Chinese. However it is estimated that about 300,000+ men, women, and children, including many surrendered Chinese soldiers, were killed horrifically.
Back to the Movie...
The Flowers of War tells a moving story about sacrifice and love for your fellow human by concentrating its plot around the plight of a group of convent girls, a collection of prostitutes, and the self-serving American mortician who reluctantly (at first) becomes their protector. Sheltered for a time within the walls of a cathedral in the city, the survivors of the terror hide and devise their escape from their captors. The variety of personalities and viewpoints of the characters in the story are engaging, the acting is beautiful, and the movie does a great job of raising awareness of the rape of Nanking, which still needs to be raised.
This is one of the best movies I have seen in a long while. I recommend you watch it and I also recommend Iris Chang's book, The Rape of Nanking.