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[Movies] Some thoughts on The Tokyo Trial

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发表于 2009-11-27 16:05:59 |显示全部楼层

It's not difficult to observe that this movie was a great hit in China whilst there was no ripples in other parts of the world.
From my understanding, The Tokyo Trial was never shown in cinemas out of China, quite understandable due to its content?
Just a personal guess cause I find it's a shame that most others do not know the existence of this movie!
Anyhow, would like to have some discussion on this movie.
A marketing phrase from this movie was "A movie no Chinese should miss"
In fact, I would think it's a movie not to be missed by anyone.
World War 2 was a global affair with huge geographical extent, not just a Chinese affair.

The content of the movie was extremely China-based, centralized very much on the sufferings of Chinese, although I must add that the movie went in  a bit deeper to talk about the sufferings of Japanese citizens as well. The division between Japanese militants and citizens was well-defined in the beginning of the  movie and that's a great start to prevent this movie from being too biased. Another
notable aspect of the film was the movie resembled history. Damian resembled the role he play, Dr Mei Ju-Ao, how other actors also looked liked the prosecutors, officials and criminals and also how the courtroom looked almost exactly like that in history. We have to applaud how this scene was made for the audience to go back in history.

Nonetheless, history is still history, there's no way how this movie could be made to change the result of the trial or the charges against the Japanese officials.
Still, the sympathy still stays on the side of Chinese as most audience (including myself) cannot accept Japanese atrocities,like the Nanjing massacres. On the other side, the Japanese militant made their stand that they had not committed any crimes as their attacks were merely self-defence. This nonetheless will receive "boo-s" from the audience like us. However, I do not know the response from Japanese? The Japanese militants are extremely loyal to their emperor and I respect that, but surely I do not agree with their doings. This spirit was represented quite well in the movie by the Japanese actors. First, the Japanese lawyer, he was wearing military boots in the courtroom. One of the scenes was where he reprimanded the Japanese witness as being a traitor to Japan. The other was from Tojo (东条英机), where he maintained that war was for defense and the emperor was not at all involved in the war. Another under-representation was input from the other judges. They are really there as a backdrop only :[64]. Their only involvement was in the decision-making,where some of them opposed Dr Mei's proposition to give a death sentence to the war crimes. Out of the 11judges, how many of them do you actually remember?

The off-trial scenes were disappointing, in my opinion. I could not see how audience might also sympathize Japanese citizens in the movie. The off-trial scenes revolved around Ken Chu, Kelly Lin, Eric Tsang and Tse Kwan Ho. Both
Eric Tsang and Tse Kwan Ho were defeated soldiers who refused to accept that Japan had lost in war. They played very well in their roles, no doubt. However, the story between Ken Chu and Kelly Lin did not arouse any interest at all and in fact, I've now forgotten their story. I'll recap the movie soon and discuss.

Back to the tribunal.
How did everyone find Damian role? Good, of course, otherwise you wouldn't be in this forum.:P
From all the interviews, he was quite concerned with his English, being not up to standard. How do u all feel?
Actually, with the viewers sympathy and being engrossed with his acting, one may not have paid too much attention to the English. But I do have some comments on this part.....sorry, no offence..

1) I noticed that Damian's HK-accent is almost gone :[42] *clap hands*. I wonder if it was due to practice or...?
2) Actually, Damian speaks good English but sometimes eat on his words, making the whole sentence unclear.
This is extremely obvious when his role gets annoyed. In one scene where Dr Mei insisted on sitting beside Sir William, his debate with William was so heated that I couldn't catch what Damian was saying until I replayed that scene.

He was saying something like,"I refused to accept this arrangement in any ......in any ......law or reason"

I had to guess the missing bits from the expression in his face. There were a couple others and it happens when the scene get intensed.
Don't be to upset by this comment because it doesn't make me dislike this movie.

There was one scene though, which I thought was perfect, perfect English, perfect feelings...everything was done right.
When Sir William came into the room, after much discussion in the seating arrangement of the judges,

Sir William: "Dr Mei, you win. Your country should be proud to have a fighter like you".

Dr Mei:  "I'm not a fighter. I'm a judge--A Chinese judge"

:[42]:[42]
I like this scene. Dr Mei got back his dignity as a Chinese and fought tough for his seating. I think Damian's set the mood right, including his English. Perfect.
The pressure about this English probably come from the fact that the actor playing William, speak native English and that there's a huge contrast between his and Damian's. And also, the English goes well until emotions (eg. anger, sadness) sets in. Probably there's to be a compromise of which one to focus on, although it'll be good to have the best of emotions and expression of languange. 


Most of the other scenes are on Damian's feelings when he looks at the criminals, at the witnesses. He has to keep a straight face as a judge so most of the feelings seems to come from the eyes (my personal opinion again).

Almost finished with what I wanted to say. This movie is almost like a documentary but yet something more. There's immensed emotional input from Damian's character. The other 3 characters I liked were William, Joseph Keenan and the Japanese lawyer. Kenneth Tsang is a great actor but his voice was dubbed over and you can't get a sense of his expression as well as if it was original voice.

I haven't really organized my thoughts, just random comments which I had wanted to write down long ago.
Will do so when I have a long holiday; I can put my comments together with some images.

Here's 2 behind the scenes from my DVD. You can see how difficult it is to be communicating in the set. There's a translator and they have to rehearse to make sure everyone knows what's going on.
Another thing, it was in summer when they shot this. 40degrees celcius I think. Goodness. That's why Damian was eating ice-cream!

Lastly, you should watch the movie if you haven't.

Behind the scenes 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sBgx6hotaY

Behind the scenes 2
This one shows filming in his stares

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQOGVUEwR58


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I hope more of us can discuss this movie since it is really one which had the potential to make it overseas,but never did (I don't know if it may in the future?)

There's some links in youtube with English subtitles. If you wanna buy,get the one that is produced from Hong Kong,as the one from China is doesnt have English subs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URDsEwYwnZk&feature=related


14parts. With English Subtitles. I think the translation isn't fantastic, but may help if you don't understand Mandarin.

(Damian's Mandarin in the movie was dubbed :(, but he spoke mainly English, original)
1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URDsEwYwnZk&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=12
2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed8lxTi9v8w&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=11
3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT5T-Ce2TK4&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=10
4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv4geA6NUOk&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=9
5
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ie_NKd2aPT4&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=8
6
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RVj9ZnQiN0&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=7
7
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZluAZMGnObA&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=6
8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGku1Kj9Qkc&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=5
9
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEqtxs3DzZI&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=4
10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXpoKWmf9kw&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=3
11
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwDWfkDKNSs&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=2
12
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt-JYiHFlH4&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=1
13
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ-0tal_msE&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=0
14
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8HY48tpBis&feature=PlayList&p=7CF9617297A809C4&index=13



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发表于 2009-11-27 17:09:35 |显示全部楼层
。。。看见大片英文字母就头晕。。。

爱艺术,不要爱艺术家
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发表于 2009-11-27 17:22:33 |显示全部楼层
Wow...long essay...

1st of all, I'd agree this movie was extremely china-based which mainly views from china perspective. But if we watched this movie with our empathy, we'd get the exact meanings of this movie too.

Secondly, Damian always 'eats' his word with his aggressive emotions. Not only in english, but too in chinese even cantonese. But it just like the nature of emotion shown. Who can speak fluently when you get your emotions or feelings stuck?

and last...
I'd need to spend some more time and some more effort to read such a long long essay in english...
Anyway, thanks for sharing your opinion and do remember I love you.
I love Baby Damian and love Baby Sharon TOO

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我以后不准隐身  x1000次   再隐身就 x2000次
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发表于 2009-11-27 21:15:06 |显示全部楼层
I am a university student, my major is English, and now i finally know the benefits of learning.
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发表于 2009-11-28 08:28:39 |显示全部楼层
Can we buy this movie in Malaysia yet?
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发表于 2009-11-28 10:58:58 |显示全部楼层
Original posted by 小不点 at 2009-11-27 17:22 Secondly, Damian always 'eats' his word with his aggressive emotions. Not only in english, but too in chinese even cantonese. But it just like the nature of emotion shown. Who can speak fluently when you get your emotions or feelings stuck?


Yes, we've discussed this a couple of times too. It's just a matter how far we can accept this. The "eating words" is definitely far more evident in Mandarin than Cantonese and an even larger extent in English.
I agree with you in that I cannot speak fluently when my emotions or feelings are stuck. But we are still watching a performance. If the actor wasn't Damian, I really think I won't be able to accept excessive "eating words". And this is also a disadvantage of having to handle a second language. In Jackie Chan's English movies, you always see that NGs are of badly spoken English, however the final product came out very well. I think the final product might be improve if Damian was to be made to retake a few scenes. As mentioned before, I understand the compromise between expression of emotions vs language and anyone would choose to emphasize on the emotions for this role:[66]. For audience, this is but one of the few bad points they can pick out from the movie. This isn't the emphasis of my thoughts,there's many other areas to cheer about, 你爱我爱松哥,所以我怎样都支持这部电影的啦:[4]

Original posted by VictorPenny at 2009-11-28 08:28 Can we buy this movie in Malaysia yet?

This movie was 3 years ago. It might be a tough search. You could get from online stores like yesasia, sensasian, or maybe even auctions.
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I found another article which has a different opinion from mine, have a read:
From: http://www.wretch.cc/blog/gakinme/5036624

東京審判 Tokyo Trial by Damian Lau, Ken Chu

This movie according to the Chinese press did very well in China and was touted as the film that all Chinese have to watch. It made US$1.2 million after it debuted 10 days. That's compared to US$24 million for the Curse of the Golden Flower in China only, I'm not sure if it was very much watched. Perhaps people know it enough not to watch it.  In Hong Kong, it didn't even get into the top 10 listings when it was released in September so I guess not many Hong Kong people were watching it either. Putting Ken Chu, Eric Tsang and Tsang Kwong don't really draw although I was more interested in their part of the story more than the proceedings of the trial itself.  Ken had really minimal appearance. 


Damian Lau 劉松仁surprised me.  Why did they choose Damian Lau, a Hong Kong actor, for this role? Just because of his ability to speak English. No doubt, his acting is up to par and his English surprised me. I didn't expect him to be fluent despite a Hong Kong accent. But why Damian? Because China doesn't have anyone who could speak English and yet act? hahaha....Or they are not well known enough for the Chinese communities who would be watching this movie? If they had meant this for the Chinese in China, they should have chosen a mainland Chinese actor. Damian was too westernized I think, and too Hong Kong-ish. But perhaps the real representative from China was really that westernized.  

Anyway, back to the movie. I don't really think it's a bad movie but I think it is more for classroom use for the lazy professor. Anyone who has the interest would read up a book rather than sit there and watch snippets of the trial enacted.  If they had made the movie of the tortured relationship of the Chinese who lived in Japan and their relationship with one another after the war as in this movie, it would have been a more effective movie. The helplessness of Chinese, the helplessness of the Japanese who obeyed the Emperor all amplified at the end of the war is something worth watching - and please make the message positive that one has to forgive.  The Japanese suffered under the American atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and they suffered too.  Sometimes I go around Chinese forums and see the Chinese people, young and old, hold a blanket hatred against the Japanese in entirety, then and now, leaders and citizens. These are the type of films that help stoke such sentiments. 

Btw,
here is a Chinese article about Damian being too engrossed with the movie and could not dissociate himself from the role and on the set, when he saw the Japanese actors, he would not talk to them because he has assumed that they were the real culprits. Afterwards, he really regretted being so rude to the Japanese actors.


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发表于 2009-11-29 22:28:49 |显示全部楼层
I saw parts of these movie through youtube. Once again, thank you sharon. My comment about Damian's English is that although his English is good, he does not seemed too comfortable with it. Naturally so for soneone whose first language is not english. Because of the language, I guess, it affected his usual high standard. But then again, his character in this movie, Dr Mei, is supposed to be a Chinese judge, therefore, it can be accepted that his English is not as good as Dr William. Thank You Sharon for telling about this movie. I am trying to buy the DVD through ebay.
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发表于 2009-12-2 14:49:21 |显示全部楼层
I didn't see this movie yet but was able to hear how Damian's English sounded like through some clips on YouTube.  I thought his English was good.  There were some words that I thought he pronounced perfectly  :[79] :[79] and others where I could not tell what he was trying to express (maybe related to his comfortably?).  He did have an accent in my opinion but I think I preferred that he did because he suppose to be playing a Chinese judge so his English is expected to be different from the judges in the United States and in the United Kingdom.  I can tell that he worked very hard on his English and his speeches did shine when he spoke.  Additionally, English is a very difficult language to learn.  English has all these tenses for past, present, and future where as Chinese doesn't really use tense at all.   Even though, I am an ABC my English still needs improvement.  I remember my college friends telling me that they had to pay close attention to me when I was speaking to them because they couldn't tell what I was saying.  Anyhow, thank you for sharing your thoughts and letting me know about this movie.  I'll have to look on yesasia. 
[ Last edited by aznawm at 2009-12-2 15:04 ]
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发表于 2009-12-29 17:28:39 |显示全部楼层
Finally, I got mt DVD version of this movie and watched it immediately. I have to agree with Sharon that I did not really understand the off trial scenes. I feel that there is a lot of depths in the court room scenes but one has to really concentrate and understand what was being discussed. Damian's facial expressions were extremely outstanding. This is understandable becuase there was not really much dialogue other than the initial discussions about the seating arrangements of the judges and at the end where he try to convince the other judges to vote for the death penalty. I got the copy from HK with the English subtitle but unfortunately, some of the subtitles did not match the dialogue. But all in all, this was an a really good movie and I will watch it again. I had also watch the documentary "Nanking" before that, so understood the Tokyo Trial better with the background. Thank you Sharon for recommending this movie.
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