"My War," a Chinese-language movie directed by Hong Kong director Oxide Pang, premieres on September 30th, but it has already raised a ruckus among Chinese netizens.
The movie is about China's role in the Korean War of 1950-1953. China had joined Russia in supplying arms and men to North Korean forces, which had invaded South Korea. America supported South Korea, and the 1953 armistice between the two sides resulted in the permanent division between North Korea and South Korea. With a total death toll exceeding 1 million deaths, and Korean civilian deaths accounting for the majority of those deaths, it was the fifth bloodiest war in U.S. history.
An earlier trailer for the movie provides little exposition about the movie's storyline, but it is safe to say it has the traditional elements of a war movie: patriotic soldiers shouting down the enemy, a female love interest ready to die for the cause, and an abundance of carnage. What has raised the ire of Chinese critics, however, is the sunny trailer above, which depicts a tour bus of elderly Chinese visiting Seoul. The tourists cheerily try to explain to the confused tour guide that they had already been to Seoul -- as combatants in the Korean War.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, Chinese critics decry the trailer's humorous depiction of a brutal war, likening it to a hypothetical situation in which Japan's brutal massacre in the Chinese city of Nanjing were similarly lightly treated on film.
It is unclear how the movie will be received once it opens in wide release. But the chilly reception among Chinese critics is an encouraging hint that historic enmities within Asia are being countered by concern for interethnic respect.