Christian Bale has been in China promoting The Flowers Of War. I’ve written about the film here and here, the “first time a domestically-funded Chinese movie has placed a Hollywood actor in a leading role” with the transparent intent for the Chinese film industry to go aggressively global, much like many of its other industries. They really, really want an Oscar for this.
While in the country, Bale called up CNN to make a political statement - he wanted to visit Chen Guangcheng, a blind lawyer and activist who’s under house arrest for defending women forced to have abortions or get sterilised to preserve the one child rule in China (which will, ironically, end up f-cking them over in the very near future when there aren’t enough people to join the work force).
Bale was denied his visit, on camera, by Chinese security. They roughed him up a little. They sent him away, then followed him in sinister fashion to make sure he didn’t come back. Hilariously, in every report about this incident - and it’s been widely reported - all outlets make a point of highlighting that it took Bale 8 hours drive in a car to get to the village where Chen is being held. Like an 8 hour car ride is such an arduous undertaking!
Look, I applaud his effort to leverage his fame to bring light to an appalling situation.
At the same time...
The same government that’s holding Chen is the one bankrolling Bale’s film. He’s the idealist who actually believed that Communist China was finally prioritising culture. Them? Really?
Remember, there is still no freedom of the press in China. There’s certainly no freedom of the internet. The people of China have limits. Their government gives them limits. Their government wasn’t giving them this movie because they wanted to make and promote art. Their government gave them this movie because they want to make MONEY. There’s no greed like Chinese greed, I promise you. We gave the world Confucius. But Confucius also came from China because there’s no other place on earth that can be more corrupt.
Christian Bale has been formally introduced now to the Capitalist Socialist hybrid that governs the People’s Republic of China. Disillusionment is terribly disappointing. I feel bad for him. Because the kind of person he is, this must be obvious now. He made a movie in partnership with a Communist Party that is also torturing a good man.
What’s interesting then, after this example, as it pertains specifically to the subject matter of this blog, is whether or not Hollywood continues to engage the Communist Party of China, in spite of incidents like these. Will the Bale confrontation stall ongoing collaboration efforts? Or do we shrug and move forward?
Christian Bale vs China
TAGS: Christian Bale Movie Reviews and Previews
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