Christian Bale defends 'Rape of Nanjing' film

British actor Christian Bale (L) and Chinese director Zhang Yimou attend the premiere of "The Flowers of War" in Beijing December 11, 2011 Christian Bale (L) says the film explores how a crisis can reduce people to animalistic behaviour

Related Stories

Actor Christian Bale has defended his role in a Chinese-language film portraying the 1937 massacre of Chinese by Japan's imperial army in Nanjing.

Critics say the film is nationalistic and anti-Japanese, but Bale says the film is not Chinese propaganda.

"It's far more a movie about human beings and the nature of human beings' responses to crisis," he said.

The film, The Flowers of War, will be released across China on Friday and in the US in late December.


This year China has released several big-budget epics with strong patriotic themes.

The films have coincided with a slew of major anniversaries, such as the Communist Party marking 90 years since its foundation.

And Chinese officials have encouraged film-makers to push China's message to the world.

But Bale, who last year won an Oscar for his role in The Fighter, dismissed criticism of the film.

He said it was a historical piece, and anyone describing it as propaganda was not looking at it closely enough.

He told reporters it was an exploration of how a crisis "can reduce people to the most animalistic behaviour but also raise them up to the most honourable behaviour you could ever witness".

The Nanjing massacre, which is also called the Rape of Nanjing, is one of the most notorious episodes of Japan's invasion and occupation of China.

Some 140,000 Chinese were slaughtered, according to international observers, although Chinese historians put the figure much higher.

For many Chinese, the apologies offered by Japan have never been enough, and the event still tarnishes relations between the countries.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More China stories


Features & Analysis

  • Signposts showing the US and UK flagsAn ocean apart

    How British misunderstanding of the US is growing

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • A cow wearing sunglasses overlaid with the phrase 'Can't touch this'Cow row

    Thousands rally against the ban on beef in India

Elsewhere on the BBC


  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.