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City of Life and Death (2009)
"Nanjing! Nanjing!" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  22 April 2009 (China)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 7,852 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 61 user | 144 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

In 1937, Japan occupied Nanjing, the Chinese capital. There was a battle and subsequent atrocities against the inhabitants, especially those who took refuge in the International Security Zone.

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Title: City of Life and Death (2009)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Lu Jianxiong
...
Miss Jiang
Hideo Nakaizumi ...
Kadokawa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wei Fan ...
Mr. Tang
Yiyan Jiang ...
Xiao Jiang
Ryu Kohata ...
Ida (as Kohata Ryuichi)
Bin Liu ...
Xiaodouzi
Yûko Miyamoto
John Paisley ...
Beverly Peckous ...
Minnie Vautrin
Lan Qin ...
Mrs. Tang
...
Durdin (as You Sima)
Di Yao ...
Tang Xiaomei
Yisui Zhao ...
Shunzi
Edit

Storyline

In 1937, Japan occupied Nanjing, the Chinese capital. There was a battle and subsequent atrocities against the inhabitants, especially those who took refuge in the International Security Zone.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for wartime violence and atrocities including sexual assault, and for some sexuality and brief nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

22 April 2009 (China)  »

Also Known As:

City of Life and Death  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,610 (USA) (13 May 2011)

Gross:

$119,922 (USA) (28 October 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film spent a long time clearing its way through the Chinese censors. It took six months for full script approval and another six months for the finished film to be approved. See more »

Goofs

Several scenes take place on a square where stands what seems to be a ruined large public building. Towards the end, this building is shown from another angle, but it is clear from its shape that the image has been flipped horizontally. See more »

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User Reviews

 
the tragedy of history
5 February 2010 | by See all my reviews

A very fine movie, strong and rather heavy. I was relatively familiar with the events that took place in Nanjing therefore I was not surprised by the atrocities I saw reenacted on the big screen.The device of shooting the film in black and white was effective, in the sense that it created an impression akin to a documentary or a current affairs reportage of the age. Alessandro Ahmenabar may have said that he wanted "Agora" to give the impression that it reported events from 4th century A.D. Alexandria like a CNN live correspondence but I think "The City of Life and Death" was the movie that succeeded on that, giving to the spectator the impression of watching the events in live coverage.

Although it portrayed numerous atrocities, it masterfully avoided the trap of succumbing to "pornography of violence". It also tried to treat the incidences of mass rape and "comfort women", which after all are the reasons that the conquest of Nanking became notorious and was named The Rape of Nanking, in a relatively discreet manner, the only one possible.

The actors were expressive and one must note that this multi-person drama, lacking a protagonist was reminiscent of the technique of the films of Robert Altman also lacking a protagonist.

It was also a good idea to create a positive and repentant Japanese character in order to alleviate the obnoxious impression that the viewer would form about the Japenese people in general.

I do not know whether there is a propaganda value in this movie but judging it a work of art, being not involved in Sino-Japanese affairs, I find it outstanding.


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