This Chinese film in Mandrin\English is a certain entry for the best of 2011. The story based on 13 Women of Nanjing, set in the Sino-Japanese war, which depicts the sacrifice of a group of prostitutes to save little convent girls. The film has some daring war scenes and visually appealing segments. Directed by Yimou Zhang, (House of the Flying Dagger), starring Christian Bale of the Dark Knight, I dint expect a star-like Bale can act in this film, but it was really a superb performance. Almost half of the dialogues are in English and it’s easy to follow, rather than concentrating on the sub-titles.
Propaganda Film from China
The story is narrated by Shu, young school girl. Chinese Army is on the back foot as Japanese are advancing into the then capital Nanjing, American John Miller (Bale) a mortician by profession, comes to the city to perform the burial of a Romon Catholic Father. On his way to the church ad-mist of the war, contacts Shu and her friends who are on their way to the church to take refuge, they take him to the church. He comes to know that he can’t get the body of the Father as it was blown away by the bomb, stays there is church that night.
Meanwhile a group of local prostitutes take refuge in the church cellar, thinking that the foreign institutions won’t be attacked, but the next day the church is also attacked and the soldier’s mob over the school girls, only to be saved by a Chinese sharpshooter from outside church. The visiting Japanese Colonel Hasegawa assumes John Miller as the father of the church and wishes to visit them one day to hear the choir. The prostitutes pursue John to use his western appearance to save them by repairing and escaping the city through the broken truck.
Japanese Colonel then visits the church to hear the choir and invites (orders) John to send the convent girls to sing in the Japanese victory party. Sensing the outcome of this which will be rape and murder, the school girls try to commit suicide of knowing what will happen in the party who are stopped by the prostitutes by saying that they will go instead of the convent girls. John with his mortician skills changes the prostitutes as a look-a-like to the school girls. The film ends with the courtesans going with the Japanese army for the party and John Miller in the truck with the choir girls escaping from Nanjing.
This depicts the brutal display of war crimes, sacrifices in battle and also sacrifice of the prostitutes for the choir girls, where the death is waiting for them in the party. Tinge of sadness when the church boy has to go with the prostitutes due to a wrong count. The war is so destructive, we have seen in many films that Europe got drenched with blood, but Asia is not left behind.