The Men Who Would Conquer China




THE MEN WHO WOULD CONQUER CHINA  WINNER Best Documentary, Film Critics Circle of Australia, Best Documentary Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award, Best Editing, AFI Award. Australian International Documentary Conference, Chicago International Documentary Festival, Shanghai TV Festival, Tri-Continental Film Festival, New Zealand Film Festivals among others, ABC and international TV.

“A ground-breaking fly-on-the-wall film made by an Australian follows a Wall Street entrepreneur to China where he simply can’t agree with the way business is done. It would be difficult to imagine a starker lesson in culture clash… Nick Torrens has come up with a classic case study” – Mike Hanley, Editor Australia-China Connections

“This is one of my favourite films and it is also selling very well in Europe and is probably one of the most successful Australian films in sales.” – Barbara Truyen, International Distributor

“By focusing on the intensely personal dilemmas faced by these men at the height of their differences, Torrens exposes the quintessential ideological differences which dominate the interface of two great cultures. This is social research at its best.” – Sheila Duncan, METRO MAGAZINE

“The film is truly the best demonstration of what I try to pass on to my students that I have ever had the pleasure of viewing, and I am confident both the Chinese and Western students that I have (from over 35 countries) will relate to the mode of storytelling.”-Dr Giana Eckhardt, Australian Graduate School of Management

A MUST FOR VIEWERS. We see a new way of communication in today’s global market. Vincent Lee has to conform to the traditional protocols and rules in the Chinese business world, which are completely different from Bakal’s impulsive approach. The “brothers” often clash in heated argument…”- Derek Chen, Editor, DAILY CHINESE HERALD

 “Producer Nick Torrens shows his original and profound understanding in the Chinese culture.”- Nicole He, Sing Tao NATIONAL Daily

“ It is a truly outstanding and unique China documentary. I loved the irony and the absence of didactic or heavy-handed judgments from the film-maker.”- Dr Stephen FitzGerald, former Australian Ambassador to China

“This splendid film about the changes in China sizzles like fiery stir-fried Sichuan peppers. Torrens has captured an intimate colourful story, one in which the stereotypes don’t follow…” – Brian Courtis, THE AGE, Melbourne

“A rare film.. a subtle and non-polemic work which evidences a wonderfully established filmmaker-subject relationship. Rich in subtext, the documentary is sure to garner a wide range of responses from both East and West.”- Warwick Burton, INSIDE FILM Magazine

“It doesn’t seek to glamorize the business of capitalism, which mainly seems to consist of sitting around in boardrooms, on planes, at various dinners and banquets. There is obvious wealth here but it’s not the wealth of consumption. Rather, it’s a restless, blind impulse to find new formations, to buy and sell. Mart and Vincent are nominally in control of this process but are also beholden to it. Torrens’ film benefits from a familiarity with the protagonists but nevertheless maintains a low-key critical distance.” Simon Enticknap, AFI Awards

“This thought-provoking documentary offers an inside glimpse – at a very personal level – into the world of high finance..”- Asian Canadian

“The film shows clearly how cultural differences can be paralyzing, and it is worth showing business students for that reason alone. The film also offers many other insights that make this film valuable for a wide range of viewers. People who are familiar with the theory of individualism and collectivism in cross-cultural psychology will find the film illustrative, capturing many aspects of it.” – Dharm P.S. Bhawuk, Professor of Management and Culture and Community Psychology, University of Hawaii / AEMS Illinois

  • “I am a Chinese student of finance and economy in Canada. I am very glad to see such an original film and I love it because it shows China’s vast social changes and shows how both Chinese and Westerners make efforts on working with each other and investing in rapid developing China despite of cultural and social differences….”
  • “I think it would be very beneficial for MGSM to see your work, as it illuminates many of the core issues discussed in many of the courses offered, particularly Cross-Cultural Management, Competition and Strategy Asia-Pacific and International Marketing….”
  • “I work in a small strategy consulting firm in the Shanghai offices and we have a lot of clients who have “unrealistic” expectations of what doing business in China is like. I believe your films would be a great eye-opener for them….”
  • “As an individual who has recently come from Hong Kong and is currently working on an MBA, I believe The Men Who Would Conquer China clearly summarises the challenges in business and corresponding relationships that exist in that hyperactive part of the world….”

“Beautifully layered, witty.. THE MEN WHO WOULD CONQUER CHINA may represent the climax of the observational film. The subtext culminates in a portrait of an economy and a culture in change. The film turns on the interplay of two beautifully drawn characters, self reflective and self-revelatory.

“Open-ended films take bravery and confidence. We are left to hope that newer documentary filmmakers are laying down the archive of character and relationships that will enable them to tell stories over decades. After all, Nick has been following this (China) project for twenty years.”- David Tiley, SCREEN HUB

“Highly Recommended! This film truly gives an engaging and often humorous examination of two dynamic opportunists. It is wildly informative and entertaining. (It) gives wonderful insights into the collective minds of the two cultures involved. It should be noted that this is not a simple “upper echelon” examination of the free market in China. Both of the primary figures in the film explore and explain why China is and will remain a booming economy.

This is a tremendous piece of work, giving its audiences a witty yet astute exploration of the intersection of globalization and entrepreneurship in China. I highly recommend this fine documentary to all audiences with particular interest in developing economies, globalization, and/or foreign investment.” – Michael J Coffta, Bloomsberg University of Pennsylvania

“A fascinating movie… how Capitalism, in the form of two money-movers with different backgrounds and objectives, must first learn the morality of other cultures if they are to succeed. The camera registers without fail all the friction, frustration and cultural differences..” – Oliver Kerkdijk, VPRO GIDS Amsterdam

“These people play with money & people’s lives in an obscene game. You’ve let your main subject string himself up like a piñata for the audience to whack to pieces.” – Michael Rabiger, author and documentary guru, Columbia College Chicago

“You have to be totally candid and open. He is the smartest observer I have ever encountered in my travels.” Film subject, millionaire NY investor Mart Bakal

“Nothing was scripted or made up.  (The director) did not give up if you didn’t give him an answer… peeling you like a banana until you totally exposed your inner thoughts to him.” Film subject, HK entrepreneur Vincent Lee

Feature article, Metro Magazine :  METRO 146-7- Men Who Would