Hong ying tao (Red Cherry)

China’s most popular film in 1995, Red Cherry is a fascinating film for Westerners simply because it looks at World War II from the Communist point of view. Americans seem to forget that Russia and China were both our Allies, that they both suffered greater casualties (both civilian and military) than anyone (especially more than the U.S. by a huge magnitude) and that the war against fascism was a communist one, too. All of this comes into play within Red Cherry.

Director Daying Ye crafts a gripping tale of a young Chinese girl named Chu-chu, fleeing as a refugee into Moscow during the war and eventually ending up in the hands of Nazis, led by a pretty twisted German officer with a very bizarre hobby. What sounds like the premise to a potentially cheesy movie is actually anything but, seen from the point of view of children as we follow Chu-chu across a war-ravaged Asia. This Eastern take on the war makes Red Cherry a refreshingly different kind of WWII film, far from the Saving Private Ryans Hollywood never seems to get enough of.

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