China's state media are bemoaning the failure of the nation's most ambitious movie to make an impact at this year's Academy Awards.
The Communist Party-affiliated Global Times newspaper laments on its website Tuesday that Chinese dreams of taking home a golden statuette have once again "been shattered."
The newspaper notes that Hollywood's film community failed even to nominate The Flowers of War, which is set against the 1937 Nanjing massacre and is considered the most expensive Chinese movie ever made.
Starring British actor Christian Bale and directed by Zhang Yimou - known for such films as Raise the Red Lantern - the movie was deliberately designed to bridge the gap between Chinese and Western audiences.
Global Times points out that many Chinese have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard Chinese filmmakers try, they will never be able to cater to Western tastes.
Indeed, The Flowers of War has received only mediocre reviews in the few Western cities where it has been shown.
Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper describes it as an "elaborate tear-jerker" with "an unsettling mixture of spectacular brutality and sentimentality that might make even Steven Spielberg blush."
The Times-Picayune in New Orleans complains that the ambitious effort is spoiled by "self-consciously precious moments" that blunt the impact of a remarkable story of strength and sacrifice.
None of that seems to have troubled Chinese audiences, who made the film a blockbuster in its home market.
Global Times says many Chinese have concluded that because of cultural differences, Western judges are simply unable to understand or appreciate Chinese movies.
But, the newspaper says, China must continue to vie for an Oscar. It notes the government's stated desire to see Chinese culture play a larger role around the world and argues there is no more effective way than by winning Academy Awards.
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