After 28 years building and managing a vast Siemens plant in Nanking, John Rabe is ordered by the new Nazi regime to close it down. Before he can pack, the Japanese army, lead unofficially by a bloodthirsty imperial uncle, lays siege to the city. Rabe accepts, as prominent representative of Japans' major European ally, to head the Western ex-pats society's plan to start and run an international zone, like worked in Shangai. Rabe however wants it to save his workers and their close ones, over 200,000, and sacrifices all his personal interests.Written by
Prior to watching this file, I have read John Rabe's diary as well as Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking. I have also watched many documentaries and movies made about the subject from China as well as from the US. I found this film to be one of better film on this subject than most of the other ones in existence today.
The film is based primarily on the actual diary of John Rabe. Certain details were filled-in by the excellent and exhaustive work of Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking. The importance of John Rabe's diary as opposed to the other accounts of what happened during the massacred is the fact that John Rabe was a German Nazi Party member that was working for Siemen in China. Germany was an allied of Japan at the time and there would have been no reason for John Rabe to have lied about atrocities committed by the Japanese if it did not actually happened. Also since John was mainly writing this as a personal diary for himself, there does not seem to be any reason for him to have exaggerated his description of the event. As a result, his diary is probably the credible historical account of the what actually happened in Nanking.
I found some the Chinese version of the film on the subject seemed a little removed from the complex character interactions between most of these reluctant heroes of war. As a result, those movies does not seem quite as genuine and touching as this film.
Most the events from this film seems very accurate or at least true to the overall sense of John Rabe's diary. Obviously some of the atrocities had to be consolidated to be able to fit those events into a slightly over two hour film. But one of the most puzzling inaccuracy of the film was the fictional character Valérie Dupres at the International Girls College. Why was it necessary for the film to use a fictional character's name instead of the actual courageous heroine Minnie Vaultrin from the Ginling Girls College. She had done so much during the massacred that it seems unfair to not use her real name in the film. This is my primary reason for not giving this film a perfect 10. If anyone can provide an explanation as to why Minnie Vaultrin name was not used in this film, I really would appreciate it.
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