China's 'Flowers of War' Stuck in Trenches

2012-01-17 11:09:21        Global Times

The Golden Globe Awards have long been regarded as one of the most prestigious international award ceremonies. This year, Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, but Sunday's event saw the coveted prize go to Iranian film A Separation.

Before the results were handed out yesterday morning, predictions surrounding the chances of Flowers taking home the gong had been at the center of many discussions by experts and moviegoers alike. Despite palpable excitement among the Chinese public at a Chinese film being up for an international award, critics had already foretold Flowers' fate.

A film critic who writes under the moniker Succeed B. wrote that Zhang's film was not likely to see success. As he explained, Golden Globe award winners have often struck gold at three top film festivals, namely Cannes, Berlin and Venice. In keeping with this, he successfully predicted that Iranian film A Separation would win the category.

"When director Ang Lee was promoting Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, he spent a lot of time with judges at various film festivals, watching the film with them," B. told the Global Times. "Flowers of War, however, did not hold enough press conferences in North America, and focused its publicity more on the Chinese market."

Chen Shan, professor at the Beijing Film Academy, added that "Zhang is good at blending sights and sounds with a forceful impact, but often fails to express a film's inner meaning."

Chen took Schindler's List as an example, explaining that each character in the film is well presented and leaves an impression on the audience. Flowers, he said, fails to do this, leaving the audiences shocked at the scenes depicted without leaving a lasting influence.

Chen outlined three standards that can be used to evaluate a good film: the way it expresses a certain culture, the lasting influence it has on the audience, and its business potential, including attendance rates and overall profits.

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