Through readings of historical account by actors and the testimony of survivors, the events of the Nanjing Massacre are recounted.Through readings of historical account by actors and the testimony of survivors, the events of the Nanjing Massacre are recounted.Through readings of historical account by actors and the testimony of survivors, the events of the Nanjing Massacre are recounted.
This story of the fall and rape of the city of Nanking in 1937 by the Japanese is explained in this film using an unusual combination of interviews with survivors, film footage, photos and recreations of the voices of witnesses to the horror who are now long dead. One reviewer thought that the way they had actors portraying the dead Western witnesses to the slaughter was tacky, but I am not sure how else they could have done this effectively. Regardless of how it was constructed, the topic was so gut-wrenching and sad that the film couldn't help but be a very emotionally draining documentary. This is not fun to watch, but also very necessary lest we forget.
If I had any criticism of the film is that perhaps it wasn't quite graphic enough--though it was very graphic. I've seen film and photos that were worse than many of the ones used in the film. I've also seen interviews with evil ex-soldiers in Japan today who contend that none of this is true or make excuses--even though there are boxes of evidence to the contrary (such as many photos soldiers took with "trophies" that were then sent to their families--these "trophies" were rows of severed Chinese heads for which they were responsible).
By the way, I mentioned Ms. Chang's book and I learned that not too long after writing it, Ms. Change committed suicide. That is a great loss and you wonder what the impact her research had on this.
- Aug 3, 2008