A clear concept of who the enemy is, no great fear of clichés, plenty of pathos and a bit of sex, Zhang's film shares these components with many war films produced in the West. "The Flowers of War" marks his permanent renunciation of art films for niche audiences. Success in China
In China, meanwhile, Zhang's film was the year's most successful local offering, trumped only by American imports such as "Transformers 3."
"People in China have been talking for years about stepping out into the world, into the economy, sports and culture," Zhang says. "That's something the entire nation wants. Films are no exception."
Chinese President Hu Jintao recently published an essay in a party magazine in which he lamented: "We must clearly see that international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of Westernizing and dividing China." Hu suggested that China needs to intensify efforts to develop its own cultural products, and "should deeply understand the seriousness and complexity of the ideological struggle," adding that "the international culture of the West is strong while we are weak."
Translated from the German by Ella Ornstein