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Customer Review

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The rape of Nanking, 24 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: City of Life & Death [DVD] (DVD)
I wanted to see this after having seen, `City of War' last year which allegedly tells the story of John Rabe, who is acknowledged for having saved thousands of Chinese during what has gone down I history as `The rape of Nanking'. This film aims to tell the true version of events and includes the efforts made by John Rabe and the small international delegation that stayed on to help the Chinese.

Director Lu Chuan tells the unrelenting horror story of the six week occupation in an observational way but it is impossible to not become partisan as the Japanese are seen to be little short of murdering monsters. He uses several characters to tell the story and has interestingly included an Imperial Japanese Army soldier who has a guilty conscience. He even feels he is having a relationship with on of the euphemistically titled `comfort girls'. This depiction of a confused and caring Japanese soldier actually brought death threats to Lu and his family as being over sympathetic and it was removed from some mailnland Chinese cinemas, however it was saved by the personal support from Li Changchun, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.

That aside this is unrelenting in its quite often graphic depiction of the murders, beheadings rapes, and mass executions that took place taking the lives of 300,000 Chinese.

It is shot entirely in black and white and is actually lit brilliantly to give it a period feel (probably to reflect that these events took place in 1937). However the cinematographic beauty aside, this was a very harrowing and sobering film, which I must confess I found hard to get through. That is not because it runs for 130 mins, but because I found the constant brutality a bit much and I do not consider myself to be a bit soft on such matters. The only film I ever walked out of for gross content was `Salo -or 120 days of Sodom' (I was actually in my own home at the time). Even though this is blisteringly real, beautifully shot and exceptionally well acted, I found it both demanding and moving.

As I said above this is not for the faint hearted and accusations of anti Japanese propaganda should be dismissed as this tends towards trying to examine the human spirit in the depths of loss and despair. A truly excellent and stunning piece of cinema.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Jan 2011 15:43:50 GMT
Abu Hamza says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jan 2011 11:00:04 GMT
Tommy Dooley says:
I only made it to the kitchen and got myself a Horlicks to return properly fortified, but seriously it was so bad I just didn't want to see any more

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2011 22:22:22 GMT
I don't think it's illegal to press the stop button on your DVD player or the off button on your TV ... I could be wrong though.

Posted on 2 Apr 2012 15:17:10 BDT
Tim Kidner says:
I agree about the brutality of this and difficulty in viewing. After recording it from BBC4 last night, I tried to watch it this afternoon, but with the spring sunlight streaming through, this soon seemed very wrong. Will take another stab when it's dark.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Apr 2012 16:28:18 BDT
Tommy Dooley says:
TR Kidner thanks for the post, do try to watch it as it is well worth the effort Iactually watched it on BBC 4 last night and it loses none of its potency second time around.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Apr 2012 17:48:17 BDT
Tim Kidner says:
Oh, I will, no doubt about that...& as a Top 500 Reviewer here on Amazon, a review of it too. Thanks for the reply.
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