City Of Life And Death (Nanjing, Nanjing)
Cert: 15 Year: 2009 Length: 132 mins Language: Mandarin
Cinema Handout (PDF 98KB)
Score: 83.17% Attendance: 86
The story takes place in 1937, shortly after the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War. The Imperial Japanese Army has just captured the temporary capital of the Republic of China, and what follows is now known as the Nanjing Massacre. Commander Lu leads a small Chinese unit of regular and irregular combatants in defensive street-to-street fighting against a vastly superior army. This third feature by Chinese writer-director Lu Chuan (The Missing Gun and Kekexili: Mountain Patrol) presents other key individuals - a humane Japanese officer, a ‘comfort woman’, a Schindler-like figure who saved many civilians - who dramatise and give heart to the authentic story of terrible events which still cannot suppress the human instinct for survival.
One of the finest films of the year so far, it is harrowing, shocking and searingly emotional... the picture has the grandeur of a classic. It should be witnessed.
Kate Muir, The Times
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