7.7/10
9,652
63 user 148 critic

City of Life and Death (2009)

Nanjing! Nanjing! (original title)
Trailer
1:23 | Trailer
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
12 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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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

Upon its release in China, it attracted some criticism for its sympathetic portrayal of the Japanese soldier Kadokawa. Director Chuan Lu received online death threats to both himself and his family on the strength of this. 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 georgioskarpouzasSee 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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