Steven Spielberg's 'Empire Of The Sun', based on the autobiographical novel by J.G. Ballard, stars Christian Bale as Jim Graham, a British schoolboy separated from his upper-class colonial parents when the Japanese sweep into Shanghai during World War II. Temporarily orphaned, Jim attaches himself to Basie (John Malkovich), a fast-talking American opportunist determined make a buck off the spoils of war. Later, when the two are interned in a prison camp, Jim's boyish fantasies are fueled by the grace and daring of the Japanese fighter pilots whom he comes to idolise despite their enemy status. Spielberg's visually spectacular wartime epic is a testimony to the human will to survive and a child's ability to find wonder even in the midst of horror. Thirteen-year-old Welsh actor Christian Bale is brillant as Jim in his feature film debut. Spielberg himself identified more with Jim, a boy who is obsessed with flying and who experiences the death of his innocence, than with E.T.'s Elliott. After a year of negotiations with the Chinese, Spielberg and his crew were allowed to film in Shanghai, which was virtually unchanged since World War II.