Based on recorded witness testimony from real-life survivors, City of Life and Death is a stunning depiction of the Rape of Nanking, meticulously recreating the infamous reign of terror conducted by the occupying Japanese army in the Chinese capital in 1937.
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It´s one of the best war movies ever made. Don´t stick with the Schindler´s List comparison, this is much more rough, violent, visceral. This is not Hollywood. And what the war is? That´s why I like this kind of cinema´s masterpiece. It makes me think how rough the world was, is, and will be. And let´s pray for a brighter day, to all of us. Because, in the very end, all we can do is pray.
Incredible picture on all levels from director Lu Chuan who gives a masterful take on the Rape of Nanking. Lu is one of the best directors to emerge in the last fifteen years from China but the growth from his two first features (Missing Gun and Kekexili) is staggering. Cinematography by Cao Yu is breathtaking and the performances captured are genuine and exacting. One can only be left breathless by the images.
The best (anti) war film of the past decade, it's shockingly brutal impact is akin to that of the brilliant 1985 effort from Russia "Come and See." Gorgeously shot with a great turn from the beautiful Gao Yuanyuan, Lu Chuan is definitely one of the more interesting director's coming out of the mainland China.
An utterly beautiful and devastating film about the Rape of Nanking. I have seen it compared to "Schindler's List", and there simply is no comparison. This is an immeasurably better film. In fact, it's probably the best film I never want to see again.
A shocking indictment of the Japanese past and a shocking indictment of human beings in general this brutal telling of the Nanking massacres and invasion is an incredibly impressive third feature by Lu Chuan. Beautifully filmed, viscerally captured and astonishingly evocative this is a kick to the guts and a punch in the face for filmgoers. Outstanding filmmaking.
The pinnacle of contemporary Asian cinema. A touching and compelling vision of a horror the west often forgets shot in stunning black and white cinematography. This breaks the mold of typical Nanjing films by portraying the Japanese characters (particularly Kadokawa) as multifaceted humans rather than purely anti-Chinese monsters like many Mandarin films on the subject tend to.
Rarely do films touch me the way this one did. A haunting and very disturbing image of a part of history I never knew about. Apart from the striking techniques Lu used to create an atmosphere of pure horror, what stuck most was "Let them go. Life is more difficult than death." Thought-provoking till the end.