I haven't finished this yet. But as we are on the topic, I may as well post this
Asian War Films are a guilty pleasure of mine. And there have been many that I have taken a great pleasure in loving. This is that list.
These films are not ranked in order of how good they are. They are mearley in the order I remember.
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
The Founding of the Republic (2009)
Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005)
Taegukgi: Brotherhood of war (2004)
71 Into the Fire (2010)
My Way (2011)
Red Cliff (2009)
Flowers of War (2011)
City of Life and Death (2009)
I will not give a full synopsis for each movie but I will mearley attempt to explain why I loved it and what was so great about it. I have not seen some in over a year so please bear with me.
Bias, the need, and the monster:
Bias is a many headed beast here and in the world. One person’s views on the world, on a specific topic, and on anything really can be changed due to their life experiences and teachings. Bias should generally be avoided, but another point is that sometimes we need to accentuate and make some things biased. The population of the world is generally apathetic to many topics that one may find interesting otherwise. They may not care about particle smashers or new electrostatic headphones. And thus it is my belief that one would sometimes need bias and sensationalism to promote a topic or side of that topic that would otherwise be left forgotten.
I will say it right here that I am a native born of the People’s Republic of China. I currently live in the U.S.A. I have experienced the views of my homeland and also of the states.
My view on the world is quite neutral. However, with Asian war films I try to be pro underdog. There is enough known on the U.S side of things, but these films all carry a point of view that isn’t generally spoken of in the U.S and that is why they were so commendable to me. And so, my explanations will include a more biased and sensationalist tone in it to exemplify the other side of the story.
Letters from Iwo Jima:
My mouth is left open as I finish this film. The only thought that goes through my mind at that time is “how the hell he could have directed this?”. Clint Eastwood directed the movie for his two part movie feature. I knew little about him except that he was an action star in Old West movies long ago. Looking at him, he was what I thought was the average American who was ignorant about policies, culture, and events in Asia. I would stare at his IMDB and Wiki page many times wondering how he could have made a film that would show the other side. The movie was beautiful. It didn’t undermine the Japanese as authoritarian wraiths which happens quite often subconciously or on purpose. The human side of the soldiers and of the events unfold extremely well in this movie. What was duty and the human condition was also well developed. Beautiful acting by Ken Watanabe sealed this film
Propaganda Red China. That is what many think of. A thought that comes from decades of media consumption and adults who have been taught that. Media from the PRC can never be truthful thought they. Well, this movie proved that to be wrong. This movie seemed to have been inspired by Saving Private Ryan. Where a constant theme was on the humans in each soldier. Not the country they belonged to, not the insignia on their uniforms, or by the actions they did. But by the fact that they were people in a hellish war. Assembly is one of the few internationally recognized films in the world that prominently feature soldiers from the PLA. This was what got me interested in the film. My family has history in the PLA. I wonder how they lived, how they fought, the organization or lack thereof they experienced, and just everything there was to be about them. This film conveyed a sense of nationalism to me. The hero’s of my country fighting for the homeland. But that was not to be. Orders, humanitarianism, death, and duty to country and comrade played a bigger role in the movie. On how they were just soldiers there to defend. The people they killed may have been cousin’s, they may have been brothers, they may have been strangers. This film was great in that it follows the leader of the group, Gu Zidi, through his life as he leads his men and finally searches for them. It conveys longing of how comrades would quickly be found and lost and on the situation of brotherhood during this time.
The Founding of the Republic:
Prominently displayed everywhere along this film is the title of a Communist state sponsored movie. A realisation of just how hateful media can be. Viewers are biased already before they even begin it if they ever do.
This movie is sensationalist yes. The highly organized nature of events, of people being nationalistic is too un real. But then again, this would and does happen to many movies. Where beginning an uprising on film was a bit too un realisitc. Some terms and rising action moments do yell nationalism. But that is what this film is about. The founding of the nation is just as controversial as the founding of America. But it is also a thing one must always remember. China was divided for hundreds of years. The Manchurians took over, the Mongols took over, the West took over, Japan took over, and American backed leaders took over. But the people still referred to themselves as the people of the middle kingdom with the upmost pride. They were the people of Han. No leader or represenative could take that away from them. They were labeled as Manchurians for a while, but to them, they were Han, they were Chinese. The Republic of China was the closest dream there was to being their own people until American, and Japanese interests tore the country apart. Against all odds, the Communist Party of China secured the loyalty of the world’s largest population and finally on October 1, 1949. After hundreds of years, after 20-30 million people died since WW2, after ousting outside powers. The people of the middle kingdom finally got their name back. This movie perfectly delivers the feeling that the founders felt as they formed this nation. The last scene of this movie was what ultimately sealed the entire movie into my memory. Chairman Mao entered into the capital to inspect the troops on the morning of the founding of the country. Hundreds of thousands of well organized troops are lined up. But what was really the crowning point was the representative of the group that stood before the Chairman. He stood before the chairman with the entire weight of his existense in a military upright stand. He trembled as his eyes lay unflinching upon the Chairman. He didn’t speak to the Chairman. He yelled his words. That was the only way he would get the feelings of all his comrades and countrymen across into his Chairman. He trembled with every word as he stared into the Chairman. He is filled with the pride of the entire nation of which has lost over 20 million people already. Today was the day that his nation was to be founded. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I watched that scene. It was a magnificent day as I watched the Founding of a nation on my computer screen. But it wasn’t just any nation, it was my nation, it was my identity.