The Children of Huang Shi, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode. 2009. Library Call Number: PN1995.9.C47C45 2009.
One of the many virtually unknown gems released in recent years, this film—set in 1937 China and based on a true story--revolves around George Hogg (Meyers), an ambitious British journalist, who sneaks into Nanjing as the Japanese are desolating it. Captured and tortured by the Japanese, he is saved from certain death by a Chinese rebel (Chow Yun Fat) and flees with him into the interior of China, ambitiously seeking to find another story that will bring him fame.
Instead, his friend talks him into taking control of a leaderless orphanage and 60 feral young boys. With the help of a traveling, war-weary Australian nurse (Mitchell), Hogg reluctantly tends the boys until the Japanese near the valley. Pressured by the Chinese army to turn the boys over to them as soldiers, Hogg instead packs them up and flees, taking his wards 500 miles over the Silk Road and the Liu Pan Shan Mountains into the Gobi Desert and safety, with the help of his friend, the nurse and a former aristocrat turned opium smuggler. The movie chronicles a dark period of world history and—in Schindler-like fashion—finds some light.