As China’s filmmaking profile rises, so does director Zhang Yimou’s. The veteran of over two decades has a considerable number of solid films under his belt, including the action flicks Hero and House of Flying Daggers. His base, however, is in drama, and with movies like Raise the Red Lantern, it’s clear that he’s got a formidable skill.

That skill will meet halfway around the world with Christian Bale now that Bale has signed on for Zhang’s next project – Nanjing Heroes. The film focuses on the massacre of 1937 where Japanese military killed thousands of Chinese citizens, and Bale is set to play an American man of the cloth who helps save a considerable amount of lives.

With the film split between English and Mandarin, it’s unclear where the bulk of the story will be told, but it also signifies the slow growth of China’s presence as a filmmaker for the world. With Zhang and the production jumping into the ocean to the tune of $90 million, this marks the most expensive movie in the country’s history, and the Bale connection delivers a famous name recognized in countries beyond US shores.

On a tangent, now that MGM has financing funds, their Red Dawn – the film about a Communist Chinese invasion on US soil – might see the light of day. With any luck, these films will be released on the same weekend to make cultural trend spotting that much easier.[THR]


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