Course:ASIA355/2023/The Flower of War

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The Flowers of War: Exploring redemption, resilience, and multiculturalism amid the Nanjing Massacre

Based upon Zhang Yimou's 2011 film The Flowers of War

Zhang Yimou's Film, The Flowers of War

Group Members' Contributions

Content Contribution
Introduction YB,QL
Stories Behind the Film YB
Histories of the Film's Reception LS
Scholarly Literature Review QL, YB
Comparative Analysis BC, LS
Alternative Interpretation QL
Conclusion LS


The Flowers of War released on December 15, 2011, directed by Zhang Yimou, is one of the classic Chinese films depicting Nanjing mascara. The film is an adaption from Yan Geling’s novel, The Flowers of War, and Yan also participated in the screenplay writing of the film. This film expands the international view towards nationalism themes with the involvement of actors from various cultural backgrounds, including American actor Christian Bale (John Miller), Japanese actor Watabe Atsuro (Caption Hasegawa), and Chinese actress Nini (Yumo).


The Flowers of War depicts a redemption story between prostitutes and students in Nanjing in 1937 under the Japanese attack and occupation. Facing the savage invasion of Japanese soldiers, the American mortician transforms to a responsible leader priest of the church to protect students and prostitutes. When foreseeing the tragic result of attending the Japanese's party, the prostitutes and the orphan George finally sacrifice themselves to save students from humiliation, while John successfully escorts students out of Nanjing.


Firstly, we begin with exploring the inspiration for the movie The Flowers of War. We look at Yan Geiling’s story and personal perspective of the Nanjing Massacre. In addition, we also examine the difficulties and reflections Yan Geiling and the director of the film Zhang Yimou had during the filmmaking process. Secondly, we analyze the public reception of the film within different cultural groups at different times, the influence, and the authenticity of the Nanjing Massacre. Furthermore, we examine three literature reviews regarding the complex portrayal of Chinese heroism versus the White saviour, a reflection of Christian themes, and the Chinese perception of victims and victimizers. Afterward, the comparative analysis explores the similarities and differences between the films The Flowers of War and City of Life and Death on the depiction of the Nanjing Massacre. Finally, we offer an alternative explanation that focuses on resilience, empathy, and acts of kindness from strangers to challenge Jin Yang’s view of the film's ideological positioning to cater to Western audiences.

Stories Behind the Film

Archetypal story

The movie is based on the novel The Flowers of War written by Yan Geling. Her story is inspired by a real event recorded in Minnie Vautrin's Dairy, a book that Minnie wrote about her life experience of running the missionary college which was also a refugee camp during that brutal Nankjng Massacre. As a witness, she observed the bravery of 20 prostitutes in the refugee camp that stood up to protect students from being the "comfort women" of Japanese soldiers [1]. When Yan Geling read about their brave and heroic experience, she decided to write a book to honor their spirit. However, she could not even find their real names or background stories. These prostitutes were determined as having low social status, unimportant, and selfish, and no one would connect them with great actions during wartime. However, Yan Geling uses her novel to record their stories and praise their self-sacrifice spirit while incorporating Western religious elements and perspectives [1].

Preparing Stage of the Film

Yan Geling is the scriptwriter of the film, and it took four years and edited over 56 times for the group to finish the story[2]. The characterization is the main part of the film, portraying people from different social backgrounds with different personalities under a unified historical theme better emphasizes the trauma and disturbance that war brings to people’s lives. Zhang Yimou has been very strict in choosing the actors and actresses for the film. The casting process took three years, and the production group traveled to over ten acting schools to find Nanjing actresses that spoke Nanjing dialect to represent authentic Nankjng images [2].

Training Classes

Student actresses also attended Nanjing dialect and English classes to sound more natural. The use of the Chinese native language adds to the realism of the film and represents the national culture and history connection, while English introduces a new international perspective to the film, linking to the self-sacrifice theme in Catholic culture and Chinese social culture.

To better represent the prostitute characteristics of charming, attractive feminism, the actresses attended months of class training to sing the Suzhou dialect, correct walking signatures, play MaJiang, and smoke [2]. Additionally, the custom and makeup of prostitutes experienced several discussions to exaggerate their exceedingly fascinating image in contrast with the students' old plan custom, highlighting the differences between the two social groups.

Meanwhile, Nini playing the heroine Yumo also takes classes in calligraphy and English to shape a multi-dimensional character in the film that has an educational background and to cultivate a sexy but not sleazy image as a leader in the team [2]. The film illustrates the tragic experience of Yumo and her determined, responsible, and grateful personality that contrasts the stereotype, brings the audience a new view of the prostitutes' character, and questions people the way we define certain groups of people.

Shooting Site

Soldier Li shoots through the glass to save the student

The shooting site was in Nanking, and the filming team built a 165 square kilometer space to restore the historic environment [2]. The church's design is the most important part, as it is the film's main site and symbolizes a place separating the chaotic world and periodic peace.

The church stained glass, with very high cost, is also an essential use of scene design. Director Zhang has been extremely strict about the colour of the glass, and the group has done many experiments to manufacture and punch the glass in order to maximize its aesthetic effects. The class repeatedly appears in important scenes like the entrance of prostitutes and soldier Li saving the girls from Japanese soldiers. The colourful glass with Western religious representations contrasts with the dark, dusted war environment outside and represents a sense of vividness, beauty, resilience, and hope.

Histories of the Film’s Reception

The Flowers of War has received divergent and convergent attitudes among the general public. It is essential to explore the socio-politico-historical background of the film's story taking into account the time of its release.

The film The Flowers of War is set against the backdrop of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, a significant and horrifying event that occurred during the Sino-Japanese War. This historical event holds important and divergent emotional significance for both Chinese and Japanese audiences, representing a dark chapter in their shared history. Given the sensitivity of this historical event and the resurfacing of historical trauma, the film has sparked intense discussions in the news and on social media. Audience ratings and reviews reflect a range of perspectives.

On one hand, some viewers, particularly those from China, praise the film for revealing the brutality of war and emphasizing the resilience and sacrifice of the Chinese soldiers and women. Western critics also commend the film for vividly depicting the cruelty of the Japanese military, evoking sympathy on a lesser-known aspect of history[3].

On the other hand, there are criticisms of the film. Some argue that it employs overly dramatized plotlines that ignore historical accuracy, while others criticize that it utilizes overly sexualized visuals to cater to Western stereotypes of Chinese women. Additionally, the film has been evaluated as employing a way of a self-moved narrative that showcases a form of feminism. On the surface, it appears to glorify women's strength, greatness, and high morals, but underlying this is an accommodation of a male-centric perspective that expects women to endure hardships[4].

The varied reception of The Flowers of War can also be attributed to its release timing. The movie was released in 2011. Around 2011, it was a period characterized by rapid economic growth in China and its expanding global influence. The film emerged during a time when the nationalistic sentiment and cultural identity of the Chinese people started to emerge heavily, and those sentiments played a significant role in shaping public opinion. Some viewers saw the film as an opportunity to display Chinese pride, portraying the resilience and bravery of the Chinese people in wartime. This helps us understand why many Chinese audiences highly praised the film. However, a minority of viewers from China and some from the West criticized the film, believing it exaggerated and distorted authentic historical events, potentially sacrificing historical accuracy to elicit heightened emotional responses. This criticism also reinforced a one-sided portrayal of Chinese women rather than authentically representing their diversity and complexity[4].

In conclusion, the reception of The Flowers of War has evoked both divergent and convergent attitudes among the public. The film's depiction of the Nanjing Massacre and its historical background has triggered strong emotions and discussions among viewers. Different viewpoints range from an appreciation for its revelation of historical events to criticisms of its portrayals and historical accuracy. The film's release timing, along with China's socio-political and historical background, have influenced the public's reception and interpretation, resulting in a diverse range of opinions.

Scholarly Literature Review

1. Exploring the complex portrayal of Chinese Heroism vs. The White Saviour

Jin Yang's interpretation of the film The Flowers of War focuses on the ideological maneuvering and complexities present in the narrative. Yang notes that the film attempts to cater to both Chinese and international audiences by incorporating elements such as a multinational production crew and the casting of a Hollywood star (Christian Bale)[5].

Yumo's tearful reaction

Additionally, Yang also highlights the challenges faced when adopting the white saviour narrative from Hollywood into Chinese cinema[5]. Yang notes that while the film depicts the empowerment of Chinese women, the transformation of the prostitutes from objects of desire to heroic figures raises questions about the film's representation of Chinese women and its potential pandering to Western desires for the exotic[5]. For example in one specific scene John promises to take Yumo home after the war, and she tearfully pleads for him to take her home now.

Yumo's reference to the US as "home" indicates a submission to the West, further emphasising the film's ideological manoeuvring. Yang also criticises the sudden shift in Yumo's portrayal, as the romance in the midst of the massacre fails to convincingly explain her change in attitude towards the white hero, considering her previous contempt towards him[5]. Furthermore, this submissive portrayal of Yumo reaffirms the potent masculinity of the white hero by echoing the conventional Hollywood ending where the white hero rescues the Chinese woman from victimisation and promises her a better life in the West.

2. Reflection of Christian Themes

Youngmee Hwang, the author of The Meaning of Christianity in the Film and Novel The Flowers of War, offers an interpretation of the scenes from The Flowers of War that focuses on the reflection of Christian themes and the concept of sacrifice.  Hwang's analysis focuses on the Christian symbolism depicted in both the novel "Jin Ling Shi San Chai" (The Flowers of War) by Yan Geling and its film adaptation by director Zhang Yimou[6].

Hwang emphasizes the prostitutes' sacrificial acts in the film, as they willingly risk their lives to protect the Catholic schoolgirls[6]. There are parallels present between these sacrifices and the Christian ideals of salvation and selfless love exemplified by Jesus and God. The prostitutes' actions are seen as embodying the Christian spirit of sacrifice and love for others, echoing Martin Luther's teachings on righteousness and good works.

The Prostitutes Selfless Sacrifice

Additionally, Hwang also explores the contrast between holiness and corruption[6]. Initially perceived as dirty due to their origins in a brothel, the prostitutes undergo a transformation by disguising themselves as students and engaging in selfless acts. In this pivotal scene, Hwang interprets that the sunlight shining on the transformed prostitutes symbolizes the Christian notion of baptism and conversion, representing a transition from debauchery to righteousness[6]. In conclusion, Hwang argues that The Flowers of War skillfully weaves together these essential scenes to explore themes of sacrifice, redemption, and the power of the human spirit[6]. The prostitutes' transformation, their courageous confrontation with the Japanese soldiers, and their reliance on faith contribute to a narrative that captures the gripping experiences of individuals caught in the midst of war.

3. Victims and Victimizers

In Courtney Reynoldson’s article Forgotten Victims? The Historiography of the Nanking Massacre, she examines how the movie The Flower of War uses character transformation to illustrate a Chinese perception of victims and victimizers in the rape of Nanking. The film shapes a dehumanized image of Japanese soldiers and officers, portraying the ruthless killing and barbarism rape and criticizing their war crimes[7].

John tries to protect students

Reynoldson provides examples of how the film depicts three main ethnic groups, American, Chinese, and Japanese, and their change differently[7]. Throughout the movie, the American mortician John is selfish and decadent and only cares about his own safety and money. However, later in the film, after witnessing the cruelty of Japanese soldiers and the death of students, John re-establishes a sense of responsibility and refuses his friends' proposal to leave Nanjing to stay and finally escort students out of the city. From a drunkard to a ‘Father’ of the church, John shows his revolution towards the priest's identity and the benevolent, devoted spirit in Catholic cultures.

Prostitutes suggest sacrificing themselves

Reynoldson also examines the conflict between prostitutes and students in the early stage of the film, as the students determine prostitutes as ruthless and selfish[7]. The invasion of Japanese soldiers to the church changes their confront and leads to a final reconciliation and salvation when prostitutes sacrifice themselves to save the students. This transformation uplifts a nationalistic and heroic theme among victims of Japanese suppression.

Among these three groups, Reynoldson argues that the American character John, Chinese students, and prostitutes all made progress in changing behaviors toward humanity during the war.[7] In contrast, the Japanese soldiers are depicted as evil and brutal. The Japanese officer who apologized for their brutal behavior still chose to force students to present at their party under higher command later in the film. This shows that Japanese empathy is only the cover for truculence, and their victimizer's identity remains throughout the film. Reynoldson states that the failure of the Japanese to show humanity clearly extinguishes victims and victimizers in the film and shows the criticism of Japanese immoral and cruel behaviors during the Nanking Massacre[7].

Comparative Analysis

The Flower of War vs City of Life and Death

Similarity 1: Historical Background

The films City of Life and Death and Flowers of War are both set in the historical era of the Japanese conquest and occupation of Nanjing in December 1937. Nanjing was the capital of the Republic of China at that time. It was during this period that the Japanese brutally murdered more than 300,000 people and raped thousands of women. This event was called the "Nanjing Massacre". Both films exposed various atrocities committed by the Japanese in Nanjing. In the movie, the Japanese kill the Chinese with impunity and plunder Chinese women as comfort women. Both movies allow the audience to view the suffering endured by the Chinese people at that time period. The historical setting provides a backdrop for exploring themes of resilience, survival, and humanity during unimaginable wartime.

Jiang from City of Life and Death

Similarity 2: Portraits of Prostitutes  

In both City of Life and Death and The Flowers of War, the portrayal of prostitutes offers a poignant and thought-provoking perspective on the experiences of women during times of conflict. Two movies show prostitutes’ significant changes in their attitude to other Chinese female victims, especially students and educated women. The prostitutes in both films have conflicts with intellectual women at first, but in the end, they are a redeeming force protecting other women.

A close-up of Yumo from the Flowers of War

Jiang, a prostitute in the refugee camp in the film City of Life and Death, demonstrates her patriotism by volunteering to "entertain" the Japanese troops in exchange for food and safety. Similarly, Yumo, the lead prostitute in The Flowers of War, displays her patriotism by sacrificing herself to protect young students in imminent danger of being violated by Japanese soldiers. Both Jiang and Yumo exemplify sacrifice and empathy towards others, willingly risking their lives to shield vulnerable individuals, particularly children, from the brutality of war. In the film, lots of close-up shots of the prostitutes showed their beauty and attractiveness. But the same time, those close-up shots showed the resilience, determination, and redemption of those prostitutes.

Throughout both films, the portrayal of these prostitutes as vulnerable and marginalized individuals is effectively conveyed. Both films depict how these women are looked down upon by others in society, illustrating their marginalized status within the larger social context. Furthermore, the films emphasize prostitutes' powerlessness in the face of Japanese troops, highlighting the severe limitations imposed upon them.

Nevertheless, by featuring these prostitutes in their narratives, both films offer an exploration of the experiences of marginalized women during wartime. These characters serve as symbols of resilience and redemption, demonstrating that even in the face of profound hardship, marginalized individuals possess the capacity to protect themselves and protect those around them.

Similarity 3: Multinational Collaboration

Both City of Life and Death and The Flowers of War exemplify impressive multinational collaborations in terms of their casts and production teams. These films feature actors and experts from various countries, thereby enriching the portrayal of characters beyond the Japanese context. Notably, Lu Chuan's City of Life and Death includes the portrayal of John Rabe, a German businessman. He plays a crucial role as the leader of the international committee in the Nanjing Safety Zone, where American and European missionaries and businessmen work to provide shelter for Chinese refugees during the Japanese occupation of Nanjing. Similarly, Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War portrays John Miller, an American mortician and drifter who takes on the disguise of a priest to protect the students within the church. Both John Rabe and John Miller display acts of selflessness and protection as they shield groups of Chinese individuals from the Japanese occupation in Nanjing.

Moreover, both films exhibit multinational collaboration in their production teams. By involving professionals from different countries, these films benefit from diverse perspectives and resources. This multidimensional approach helps bridge cultural gaps and expands the reach and impact of the films by appealing to a broader international audience. Furthermore, the inclusion of international actors and professionals on production contributes to the authenticity and appeal of the plot, making the films more compelling and relatable to viewers. It also highlights the shared humanity and collective efforts in wartime.

Use of color in The Flower of War

Difference 1: Color Picture vs. Black and White Picture

In terms of the color tone of the film itself, the colors of The Flower of War are gorgeous. At the same time, Zhang Yimou used a lot of bright colors in the characters and scene settings, no matter from the gorgeous cheongsams and bright facial makeup of prostitutes or the stained glass of churches. This is deeply influenced by the traditional Chinese art expression concept of contrasting great joy with great sorrow to show its tragedy, and it is more in line with the acceptance and taste of Chinese audiences. In the film, Zhang Yimou used color many times to reflect the sense of contrast. The contrast between the prostitutes' gorgeous costumes in the early stage and the dark blue clothes they put on to save the female students later made the audience shocked and moved by their huge changes. Instructor Li, who could have escaped, chose to stay in order to protect the female students but died in the paper shop in the end. With the exploding grenade, all the confetti was blown away, and the bright colors pierced people's hearts against the gray of the bomb.

Use of black and white in City of Life and Death

The color of City of Life and Death is single, basically black and white. Director, Lu Chuan, chose the single tone of black and white as the color of the film to highlight the solemnity of the war and the solemnity and cruelty of the tragedy brought about by the film. It is greatly influenced by Western artistic expression. The world in black and white is the best embodiment of destruction and hopelessness. In the black-and-white world, everything the film tells becomes sharper and more profound. In the black-and-white world, the audience can feel a sense of reality, a sense of history, and every move of the Japanese becomes more eye-catching.

Difference 2: Depiction of the Japanese Army

Depiction of the Japanese soldier in City of Life and Death

The Japanese soldiers in The Flowers of War are symbols of pure evil forces, they have no humanity. For example, the priest took out the huge red cross flag to criticize and stop the Japanese soldiers, but he was ridiculed, and ignored. They even cut off the cross flag directly. The powerlessness of religion here highlights the animal rather than human nature of the Japanese soldiers. They frantically robbed female students and women as comfort women. Those who are disobedient will be killed directly. The Japanese in the movie act like the real Japanese soldier Azuma said, "We were taught that we were a superior race since we lived only for the sake of a human god -- our emperor. But the Chinese were not. So we held nothing but contempt for them.[8]" Unlike The Flowers of War, although City of Life and Death also recorded a large number of Japanese evil deeds, the main narrative perspective is unfolded by a Japanese soldier with a trace of humanity, Masao Kadokawa. The movie does not delineate the good and evil of people based on the simple winners and losers of the war but instead shows Kadokawa's inner entanglement and struggle in the war. For example, there are multiple shots in the movie that show Kadokawa showing fear and guilt during the massacre. Before he died, he released two prisoners of war. That is the only Chinese who escaped from the city of life and death. Looking at the backs of the prisoners of war, Kadokawa said, "Life is more difficult than death." At the end of the movie, as a member of the invaders, Kadokawa, after witnessing the cruelty of the war, could not bear the huge mental pressure and chose to commit suicide to complete self-liberation and redemption.

Close-up shot in The Flower of War

Difference 3: Scenario: Closed Single Church vs Open Multiple Spaces

As far as the performance space of the two films is concerned, most of the stories in Flowers of War take place in the relatively closed place of the church. The Flowers of War revolves around a church, and the protagonists are a priest and then a defeated Chinese officer, student, and prostitute who then enter the church to seek refuge in the war. The internal contradictions of the four types of people trying to save their own lives and the external contradictions of the Japanese invasion and massacre converged in a two-way manner at the same time, and jointly promoted the development of the incident. Under the constraints of the venue, most of the shots in the movie are close-up or medium-length shots. Such a venue restriction can focus more on the main storytelling and main character characterization of the film. The camera can fully record the expressions, movements, and attitude changes of the main characters. For example, prostitutes and students dislike each other in the early stage, and respect and help each other in the later stage.

Crane shot in City of Life and Death

City of Life and Death, on the other hand, has a relatively open space. There are not only refugee areas but also Japanese military areas. Scenes representing death were not confined to churches either. There are multiple sites of mass killings, such as the seaside, the open land, and the crematorium. There are even many methods of the massacre, including shooting, burying alive, and burning. It can be seen from the movie that there are many crane shots and extremely high shots. These shots can show the whole picture of the massacre scene and the huge number of victims. It can better express the cruelty of the war and the scale of the massacre.

Alternative Interpretation

The alternative interpretation challenges Jin Yang's focus on the film's ideological positioning to cater to Western fascination with the exotic Orient in The Flowers of War[5]. Instead, it highlights the film's emphasis on shared humanity and the transformative power of compassion. By shifting the focus to themes of resilience, empathy, and acts of kindness from strangers from diverse backgrounds, our interpretation goes against the notion that the film serves ideological or commercial purposes.

Scene 1: 1:39:51-1:42:39  

The setting of the small cellar room in this scene serves as a powerful backdrop that contributes to the portrayal of the prostitutes' solidarity and shared experiences. The cramped space symbolizes their confinement and limited options, highlighting the challenges they face in their lives. However, it also becomes a space where they come together as a close-knit community, supporting and uplifting one another. The cramped cellar is filled with valuable memorabilia, such as dresses, instruments, and shoes. These items symbolize their shared experiences and the bond they have developed over time.

The director's use of different camera shots adds depth to the scene by capturing the emotions and reactions of the characters. The director uses close-up shots of Yumo's determined face as she recites a poem about how prostitutes never care about a failing nation they just sing and dance as others die. The close-ups of her face capture the intensity of her emotions and highlight her role as a strong and influential figure in the group. Her recitation becomes a rallying cry, inspiring the other prostitutes to break the selfish societal depiction of them. Meanwhile, medium shots and close-up shots are used to show the expressions of the other prostitutes, initially skeptical but eventually agreeing with her selfless plan, reflecting their internal struggles and the gradual transformation of their perspectives.

In addition, the costumes and overall visual composition play a significant role in conveying the alternative interpretation. The bright costumes signify the shallow, materialistic elements associated with prostitutes. Through the juxtaposition between the prostitutes' usual attire and the schoolgirls' uniforms, they eventually wear, this scene shifts the focus from objectification to portraying the Chinese women as strong individuals with agency.

Through their collective agreement to save the schoolgirls by sacrificing themselves, the prostitutes demonstrate compassion and surpass the societal labels imposed upon them. This scene challenges Jin Yang's interpretation of ideological pandering to the exotic[5]since the prostitutes' selfless sacrifice goes against the societal label of being heartless and materialistic. It presents a different lens through which to view the film, highlighting themes of selflessness, empathy, and the transformative power of compassion rather than solely examining its ideological and representational aspects.  

Scene 2: 1:15:59-1:17:35

In this scene, the presence of George, the adopted son of the former priest, adds a poignant layer of meaning. George represents the innocent schoolgirls and the prostitutes who would be left behind to face the brutalities of the Japanese if John were to accept Terry's offer. The director's use of a medium camera shot, with John and George positioned together, amplifies the sense of urgency and responsibility felt by John. This shot conveys John and George’s unity and shared commitment to protect those seeking shelter and aid in the Church. It reinforces the theme of collective responsibility and highlights the unifying power of compassion in the face of adversity.

Through the dialogue and interactions between John and Terry, the scene explores themes of duty, loyalty, and sacrifice. John's decision to stay in Nanjing to help the Prostitutes and schoolgirls that were just strangers to him despite the risks and hardships convey the film's focus on shared humanity, compassion, and the willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good.

This scene challenges the notion that the film is solely about ideological maneuvering and representation. Instead, it focuses on the film's exploration of shared humanity and the capacity for compassion even in the life-threatening circumstances of war, which aims to separate and isolate people.


In conclusion, the film Flowers of War directed by Zhang Yimou has depicted the horror of the Nanjing Massacre while exploring the theme of resilience and redemption. The film has received a wide range of reviews from the audience and critics. The audience praised it for highlighting the brutality of the war and the resilience of the soldiers and prostitutes. While some criticisms mostly are related to the film’s dramatization, historical accuracy, and portrayal of Chinese women.

Given the diverse reviews and reception of the film, our group would still recommend others to view the film. The film has provided a visually impactful depiction of the Nanjing Massacre from a very different point of view by utilizing amazing cinematography. The plot also allows the audience to perceive this period of history in China. The later discussions related to the Nanjing massacre sparked by the film are also worth attention. Individuals who are interested in historical films and war films would appreciate watching The Flowers of War. Overall, it is still worth watching since it allows the audience to explore the redemption, resilience and multiculturalism of the Nanjing Massacre.



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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "The Flowers of War: Documentary "The Birth of the Flowers of War"". Weibo. 2019.2.2. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. "Emotive and thought-provoking flick about an American mortician arrives in Nanjing in order to bury a priest and attempts to save some women". |first= missing |last= (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Yang, Jin (May 2014). "The reinvention of Hollywood's classic white saviour tale in contemporary Chinese cinema: Pavilion of Women and The Flowers of War". South-North Cultural and Media Studies. Volume 28 – via Taylor & Francis Online.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Hwang, Youngmee (2018). "The Meaning of Christianity in the Film and Novel "The Flowers of War"". International Journal of Sino-Western Studies.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Reynoldson, Courtney (2013). [file:///Users/baoyining/Downloads/12153-Article%20Text-8240-1-10-20130504%20(3).pdf "Forgotten Victims? The Historiography of the Nanking Massacre"] Check |url= value (help) (PDF). The Corvette. [file:///Users/baoyining/Downloads/12153-Article%20Text-8240-1-10-20130504%20(3).pdf Archived] Check |archive-url= value (help) (PDF) from the original on 2023.6.10. Retrieved 2023.6.17. Check date values in: |access-date=, |archive-date= (help)
  8. "A Japanese veteran attempts to make peace with haunting memories". CNN. August 16, 1998.