Sunday, November 20, 2011

City of Life and Death (2009)

Director: Chuan Lu. Cast: Ye Liu, Wei Fan, Hideo Nakaizumi. 132 min. Rated R. China/Hong Kong. History/War.

The 1938 massacre of Nanking. This may seem like a mere two-hour narration of the murder, rape, and decimation of 300,000 Chinese by the Japanese army, where Nazis are actually the good guys (yeah, that bad). But it's more than that. This is another example of how the gloom and stark contrasts of black-and-white cinematography is the only option when picturing such devastating historical events (as was used in Schindler's List), and how directorial expertise does not allow one to look away even at the harshest moments. Clear harbinger of Japan's upcoming partnership with Germany in the immediate pre-WWII era.

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