November 23, 2020

Christian Bale in China to promote Nanjing movie

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English actor Christian Bale speaks to journalists during an interview on the red carpet as he arrives for the Zhang Yimou-directed new movie "The Flowers of War" in Beijing, China, Monday, Dec. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — Christian Bale was in Beijing on Monday to promote a movie about 13 young prostitutes set during Japanese army’s brutal rampaging of China’s wartime capital, known in the West as the “Rape of Nanking.”

The Oscar winner and Batman star plays an American priest in the film “The Flowers of War,” directed by one of China’s best known modern directors, Zhang Yimou.

It is an adaptation of a Chinese-language novel by contemporary writer Yan Geling about 13 sex workers in Nanjing who volunteer to replace university students as escorts for invading Japanese soldiers. In the novel that translates roughly as “The 13 Women of Nanjing,” the American priest leads a church that shelters prostitutes and young female students during the invasion.

Historians say the 1937 massacre in the eastern city now known as Nanjing resulted in the slaughter of at least 150,000 civilians. China puts the number killed at 300,000, making it one of the worst atrocities of the World War II era.

Bale praised the ability of the actresses who play the young students in the movie to act fearful and upset for extended periods of time.

“Poor girls, they were always crying their eyes out,” the actor said. “When I first arrived, I felt: this is just not good. I don’t like.”

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