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In December 1937, during the Second Japanese-Sino War, a Chinese doctor, his Japanese pregnant wife, their teenage daughter and their young son travel from Shanghai to Nanjing seeking shelter in the Capital during the Japanese invasion. The family faces the Rape of Nanking by the Imperial Japanese Army, with rapes, mass murder of prisoners of war and civilians including women, children and elders, and disrespect of international conventions. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"Nanking 1937" is a historical fiction centering around a family and their experience during the siege and fall of Nanking, and the subsequent atrocities committed by the occupying Japanese troops. The family is in particular danger since the father (Chen-xian) is a Chinese doctor, and his wife Rieko is Japanese. They each have a child and Rieko is pregnant.
I thought the story was excellent. Because the family is mixed Chinese/Japanese, the dangers, hostilities and racism on both sides are illuminated. Most of the acting is quite good too, especially the leading actors who play Chen-xian and Rieko.
Don't expect the very best in special effects, but having said that the sets of blown out buildings and rubble strewn streets, tanks and trucks used, and other props are quite good and add realism. Notably, the panoramic scenes use hundreds of extras to portray the magnitude of this human disaster.
"Nanking 1937" is not for the squeamish... know what you are getting into. The Rape of Nanking is one of the lowest points of humanity in the 20th century and this film shows it all, from the men marched out of the city for mass executions to wholesale rape of women. It is as disturbing to watch as Schindler's List.
The film succeeds in portraying the scale of this atrocity, demonstrating the insanity of war and even shows there can be moments when humanity is uplifted in the midst of it all. I recommend it for those who want to see a film interpretation of this dark chapter of history.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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