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Nanjing! Nanjing! (2009)

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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.

Director:

Chuan Lu

Writer:

Chuan Lu
11 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ye Liu ... Lu Jianxiong
Yuanyuan Gao ... Miss Jiang
Wei Fan ... Mr. Tang
Lan Qin ... Mrs. Tang
Hideo Nakaizumi Hideo Nakaizumi ... Sgt. Masao Kadokawa
Ryu Kohata Ryu Kohata ... Officer Osamu Ida (as Kohata Ryuichi)
Yiyan Jiang Yiyan Jiang ... Jiang Xiang Jun / Xiao Jiang
Di Yao Di Yao ... Zhou Xiaomei / May
Yisui Zhao Yisui Zhao ... Shunzi
Bin Liu Bin Liu ... Xiao Douzi (Juvenile)
Yûko Miyamoto Yûko Miyamoto ... Yuriko
John Paisley John Paisley ... John Rabe
Beverly Peckous Beverly Peckous ... Miss Minnie Vautrin
Sam Voutas ... Durdin (as You Sima)
Aisling Dunne Aisling Dunne ... Doctor
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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:

Official site

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin | English | Japanese | German

Release Date:

22 April 2009 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

City of Life and Death See more »

Filming Locations:

Changchun, China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,610, 15 May 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$119,922, 30 October 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chinese authorities withdrew the film from the Palm Springs International Film Festival in protest at the festival having programmed The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom (2010), a documentary about the Dalai Lama. 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

 
A Nutshell Review: City of Life and Death
3 October 2009 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

The last Rape of Nanking event film I had watched, was the docu-drama Nanking back in 2006 during the Hong Kong International Film Festival. With interviews conducted with real survivors, I was riveted to listen to their account of the atrocities conducted by the Japanese soldiers, and you empathize with them as they relive their memory and make them known. The dramatic elements were nicely presented as well, with notable names reading off memoirs and letters pertaining to individual episodes, which collectively make up the brutal horror, a living hell if you would, of the conditions of occupation.

Lu Chuan of Kekexili fame has crafted this fine film that looks into 2 broad episodes – the first few hours of occupation which will satisfy action junkies, and the later half which looked into the atrocities that were committed some 1 week into occupation, from within an international safety zone set up by Westerners, led by German John Rabe, who gets some concession by virtue of Nazi Germany being Japan's ally.

There's the controversial aspect of the film though, where it doesn't demonize the invading force right away. Instead, I lauded its realistic portrayal of the human condition of Fear when we go into the unknown, and this emotion gets vividly captured in the first few minutes of the movie, setting the tone of the entire film, where fear drives us to do inhumane, barbaric acts. That being said, it doesn't shy away from reenacting the atrocities committed against the Chinese, from bayonet stabbings, mass burials of breathing souls, burning and the machine gunning of surviving soldiers, and rape.

Filled with plenty of characters each given a specific purpose in the film, either representative of an historical legend, or collectively as a group, it makes you feel for the individual with documentary-like precision, and I am somewhat intrigued at how one can feel so much through the simple camera work of going real close to the actor's face, and lingering onwards to capture moments of despair and bewilderment.

If there's one film you should see this year, then don't miss this one. I only hope that it gets played in a decent cinema hall with a great sound system, otherwise it'll do this film no justice. Certainly a contender for one of my films of the year, and comes highly recommended!


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