International Relations in Film ---- does audiovisual culture help us understand historical development or does it provide their distorted image?
Based on the analysis of The Flowers of War
International Relations in Film
---- does audiovisual culture help us understand historical development or does it provide their distorted image?
Based on the analysis of The Flowers of War
Nowadays, the nations of the world rely on each other more and more. Under the theme of “peace and development” , the relations between the nations come from confrontation to
cooperation, it strengthened the country’s economic and cultural exchanges between countries.
There is no doubt that the International relations become more and more important.
In the study of international relations, there is a special instrument -- audiovisual culture. However, can it help us learn international relations efficiently? Does audiovisual culture help us understand historical development or does it provide their distorted image? To gain a clear idea, I analysis the film The flowers of War and the Najing Massacre during the World War II.
The Flowers of War is about the World War 2 in Asia, the Nanjing Massacre. December 1937, the Japanese have taken Nanjing. A group of terrified schoolgirls hides in the compound of an American church. The whole story was told by one of the schoolgirls, named Shujuan. The church, runed by Father Engelman, an American priest who has been in China for many years, is supposedly neutral ground in the war between China and Japan. However, the Japanese are not obeying international rules of engagement. As they pour through the streets of Nanjing, raping and pillaging the civilian population, the girls are in increasing danger. At the end, their safety is further compromised by prostitutes from the nearby brothel climb over the wall into the compound seeking refuge.
This vivid, powerful film transports us to 1930s China. It is a story about how war upset all prejudices and how love can flourish a midst death. The wonderful characters, various from the austere priest to the irreverent prostitutes, give us a clear view of this disaster, the Nanjing Massacre.
The Second World War began in Asia. In 1931, Japanese forces invaded and occupied Manchuria in northeast China, setting up the puppet state of Manchukuo. After the manufactured "Marco Polo Bridge Incident" of July 1937, the Japanese launched a full scale invasion of China, capturing Shanghai on 12 November and the imperial capital, Nanjing, on 13 December. Many
thousands of them were killed after gang rape, and tens of thousands of others brutally injured and traumatized. Meanwhile, approximately a quarter of a million defenseless Chinese men were rounded up as prisoners-of-war and murdered en masse, used for bayonet practice, or burned and buried alive. There is no doubt that the Nanjing massacre is one of the greatest mass rapes in world history. The massacres and mass rapes in Nanjing continued for a full six weeks, extending into January 1938. In August 1945, after atomic-bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered to the United States and other allies. The Second World War was over. From the film,we can easily feel what people suffered during the war. I still remember the plot of Chinese soldiers against the enemy. Lacking the right weapons to destroy the enemy’s tank, they
employed a tactic from ancient warfare. In order to get a bomb close to tanks, they even formed a human shield. At that time, the Chinese people couldn’t bear the thought of losing their country,
and such selfless acts were not uncommon. It is the visual impact of the film make us feel as if we have experienced personally, helped us engrave this history on our minds.
At this point, film is an really important channel for us to learn. Compared to fade words, vivid pictures the films provide impressed us more. While watching the film, we can easily followed and involved, it build us the whole idea of history.
Besides the fact of the Nanjing Massacre, the film also reflect the international relations between China, Japan, and US.
With the film of the Flowers of War, we were reminded of the fact that Japan invaded China
during the World War II. However, early in 1894-1895, Japan has invaded China. Japan after the Meiji restoration capitalism economic developed rapidly. In 1890, economic crisis broke out firstly in Japan. Then they regarded the vast territory and abundant resources, but weak backward China as it main invasion object. Japanese took an active part after they got the victory of Sino-Chinese War of 1985. From then on, invading and being invaded was the main relations between the two countries for hundred years. In 1937 July to 1945 September, China outbreak comprehensive Anti-Japanese War. Japan finally in August 15,1945 officially announced the unconditionally surrender.
During the Cold War period(1949--1972), the Sino-Japanese relations was not in normal state, the reason was the Chinese government completely destroy imperialism all the privileges in China, and confiscated all the property of Japanese in China. Japan insist to take hostilities toward to
China, and refused to acknowledge the new China. Since the 1970s, China’s international status increasing day by day, forcing Japan readjust the policy towards China, the relationship between China and Japan became normal. As the Japan-American contradiction aggravate, Japan pressing for the United States to get rid of control, adopt more independent policy toward China. Japan committed a heinous crime in China,
which have cast a shadow over every Chinese person's heart. But to build the health international relations, China should face up the relations with Japan. Finally, in September 1972, the China Japan joint statement was issued.
After published a "Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, the Sino-Japanese Peace and Friendship Treaty",the two countries established strategic interests and mutually beneficial relationship, started a new friendly relations and promote the world peace and development. Recently, tensions concerning territorial dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Island rose.
From the film, we got the idea of the fact the invasion of Japan to China during the World War II, however, we can only get this idea. To build the overall sights of the relationships between China and Japan we still have to research more historical and newly information. We also can not totally believe the ideas others give, we have to think by ourself, to build our own concept.
China and Japan are respectively the largest developing country and the largest developed country in Asia. As close neighbors, China and Japan have a multitude of complicated conflict of interests between them. There is no doubt that at the present time and for a period of time in the future, the most outstanding factor among various contradictions affecting the Sino-Japanese relations, is the mutual distrust in the security area.
Japan aspires to become a big political power in the world by seeking for leading role or a hegemon's position in Asia. At the same time it regards the rapidly developing China as a biggest obstacle blocking its way to achieve this goal. This is the main reason why Japan plays up the "China threat" in collaboration with the US and tries to strengthen and expand the Japan- US alliance in an attempt to contain China.
The Islands of Japan are bounded in the east by the vast Pacific Ocean and in the west by the Asian continent. Small in territory, deficient in resources, Japan feels constrained by its geographical conditions that haven't left it much freedom of maneuver in diplomatic and military affairs, making it helplessly dependent on overseas markets. After the Meiji Reforms, Japan took
on the path of capitalist development. By adopting “continental policy”, it started to make inroads
into Asian mainland and subsequently launched a series of external wars of aggression. At one time it swallowed up Korea and China's Taiwan and ruled over the Northeast China. It even undertook a risk to initiate the Pacific war in an attempt to build up a Japan- led “Co- Prosperity
Ring of Greater East Asia”. After the end of WWII, Japan used its economic advantage and tried
to by every possible means exert its influence in Northeast Asia. In the 1980s, it proposed to set up the so- called “Structure of Geese Flying Formation” and the “Pacific Economic Ring” with Japan
at the center. In the 1990s, Japan once again put forward the concept of “Japanese Yen Economic
Ring”, thus showing its strategic intention of building up its position as a political leader in the region by means of its economic power.
In the wake of China's rapid economic growth and increase in its comprehensive national strength, however, the Japanese government believes that an ascending China has become its competitive rival. Due to historic and cultural reasons as well as its status in the UN, China enjoys far greater political influences than Japan in Asia and in the international community. Besides, as a country vast in territory and rich in natural and human resources, China possesses a greater advantage in economic potentiality and resources than Japan does. Being a responsible regional power with worldwide influence, China must adhere to the independent foreign policy of peace in order to give full play to its due constructive role in international affairs, opposing any form of hegemony, either global or regional. Therefore, China will by no means accept the political prospect and strategic arrangement of Japan.
Pausing to consider the relevance of war films necessarily prompts us to consider also their political salience. Such this kind of films, which involved the international relations, provide a good overview of work in critical geopolitics, international relations and security studies.At this point, film act as component in framing the structures of global politics, and international relations.
However, as you can see, we can got the idea from the film, but there are still much information films can not expressed. What we should pay attention is that one film can not give an completely account of the international relations.That is to say, we should have an open eyes when we appreciate the film.Do not simply believe the ideas the film expressed, instead, try to get more ideas from other materials about relevant topics. Totally trust the film is worse than not appreciate
the film.Only thinking deeply while appreciate the film can help us learn.
All in all, films are effective instruments to help us learn.However, every coin has two sides, learning through the films are not perfect. For us, we should not only appreciate the film simply, but also think about it from various aspects. Only in this way, we can use this instrument to help us understand better.