The latest trailer for The Flowers of War, staring Christian Bale, has been released. However, critics have been quick to dismiss the historical drama as anti-Japanese propaganda…

The Flowers of War, directed by Zhang Yimou (the man behind Raise the Red Lantern and House of Flying Daggers), tackles the controversial events of the Nanking Massacre, when mass murder, rape and genocide took place in the city of Nanking during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Based on Geling Yan‘s novel, The 13 Women of Nanjing, the film tells the story of a American man (Bale) who becomes involved in the plight of a group of Chinese women, who go into hiding to avoid the violent attacks on the city.

There have been a number of patriotic Chinese films released this year, but with an estimated production budget of $94 million, The Flowers of War will be China’s most expensive film to date.

The film will also act as China’s entry for Best Foreign Language Picture at this year’s Oscars, and will be will be given a limited released in America towards the end of December, in order for officials to decide whether or not it deserves to be nominated for the prestigious award. As of yet, no Chinese filmmaker has ever won an Oscar in a major category.

The Flowers of War has already been criticised for its heavily nationalistic stance, but Bale has come to the film’s defence, reportedly stating that anyone who dismisses the production as Chinese propaganda is not looking at it closely enough.

Bale is quoted as having said, “It’s far more of a movie about human beings and the nature of human beings’ responses to crisis and how that can reduce people to the most animalistic behaviour and also raise them up to the most honourable behaviour.”

The actor was given the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor last year in recognition of his performance in boxing drama, The Fighter. Could he help The Flowers of War achieve Oscar-success too? We’ll have to wait until February to find out.

Meanwhile, The Flowers of War is scheduled for release in China on 16th December 2011, with a UK release expected early in the New Year. Check out the latest trailer below:

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