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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Hideo Nakaizumi
Liu Ye
Fan Wei
Gao Yuanyuan.
Directors
Lu Chuan.
Screenwriters
Running Time
135 minutes

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City of Life And Death
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Plot
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.


Review
City of Life And Death
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.


Extras

City Of Life And Death City Of Life And Death
Released: 20 September 2010
None.


Verdict
Passionate and expertly crafted, this black-and-white opus is well worth seeking out.


Reviewed by Phil de Semlyen

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for City of Life And Death
Empire Star Rating

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

Empire User Rating

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

Empire User Rating

Posted by kojaksmoneybox at 22:56, 21 May 2010 | Report This Post


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