Nanking, 1937. As the Japanese Imperial Army closes in on the Chinese capital, a small band of soldiers are all that stand between the population and a maelstrom of violence.
Chinese director Lu Chuan wrenches the 1937 Rape Of Nanking from historical footnote to cinematic headliner in this black-and-white depiction of the Sino-Japanese War’s most notorious incident. Victorious Japanese troops, the idealistic Kadokawa (Hideo Nakaizumi) apart, march into China’s capital with brutality in mind, raping and murdering on a barely believable scale.
The unfolding events are portrayed with great skill by Chuan, who spares us none of the horror, depositing the viewer in a disorientating maelstrom of violence that recalls Saving Private Ryan and Klimov’s Come And See in its ferocity. Unsanitised and at times almost unwatchable, it burns off the screen.
City Of Life And Death
Released: 20 September 2010
Passionate and expertly crafted, this black-and-white opus is well worth seeking out.
Reviewed by Phil de Semlyen
Astonishing film by Lu Chuan. Pictured in black and white, many scenes are quite breathtaking in their sadness. A dream-like, action-packed war film that takes an audience in too close at times to the atrocities committed by the Japanese army, though it never judges, showing incidents from both sides. For example, the Japanese troops are genuinely delighted by their achievements in Nanking, by their swift invasion of a capital in less than 3 days.
There are many touching characters, but n... More
Posted by gzus at 18:50, 30 August 2010 | Report This Post
Whilst the atrocities of the 1937 invasion of Nanking can never be put on screen (for the full, appalling details, read The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang), City of Life and Death comes as close as can be expected to showing the true horror. Mentioning Schindler's List is inevitable, from the involvement of John Rabe (a kind of Schindler to the Chinese) to the stunning use of black and white. City of Life and Death doesn't quite hold the power of Schindler's List, but is arguably the finest war d... More
Posted by kojaksmoneybox at 22:56, 21 May 2010 | Report This Post