City of Life and Death takes place in 1937, during the height of theSecond Sino-Japanese War. The Imperial Japanese Army has just captured the then-capital of the Republic of China, Nanjing. What followed was known as the Nanking Massacre, a period of several weeks wherein massive numbers of Chinese prisoners of war and civilians were killed.
The film tells the story of several figures, both historical and fictional, including a Chinese soldier, a schoolteacher, a Japanese soldier, a foreign missionary, and John Rabe, a Nazi businessman who would ultimately save thousands of Chinese civilians.
Many of us have some knowledge of the Sino-Japanese war; and many are the films that have portrayed what happened during that period. “CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH” (2009) is director Lu Chuan’s attempt in portraying the massacre in Nanking (rape of Nanking), a period that occurred between 1937 and 1938 when the Imperial Japanese army have occupied China’s capital committing atrocities against defenseless Chinese P.O.W.s such as murder, mutilation, looting and rape. … more
CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH is a masterpiece - of film making, of finding the midline of response to war from both sides, of cautiously but successfully blending intimate stories with the gory atrocities of war, and of recreating a period of history we too soon forget unless prodded by works such as this. Lu Chuan both wrote and directed this vision of the 1937 decimation of Nanking, the capital of China, by the Japanese that lasted in action for only six weeks but that has been a permanent festering … more