Critic Consensus: This powerful and horrific documentary brings the atrocities committed at Nanking to light without sugarcoating any of the brutality.
Filmmaker Bill Guttentag takes a closer look at the atrocities committed by the Japanese after Nanking fell to the Imperial Japanese Army in 1937 with this documentary that was inspired by Iris Chang's novel The Rape of Nanking. Compiled from over 700 hours of footage including news-reel footage, interviews with survivors and soldiers, and staged readings, Nanking was financed in large by millionaire Ted Leonsis, who had read Chang's obituary and subsequently been prompted to read the author's best-selling account of the massacre. … More
|Rating:||R (for disturbing images and descriptions of wartime atrocities, including rape)|
|Directed By:||Bill Guttentag, William Guttentag, Dan Sturman|
|Written By:||Bill Guttentag, William Guttentag, Dan Sturman, Elisabeth Bentley|
|In Theaters:||Dec 12, 2007 Wide|
|On DVD:||Apr 29, 2008|
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as Rev. John Magee
as Chang Yu Zheng
as Minnie Vautrin
as John Rabe
as Yang Shu Ling
as Bob Wilson
as Mills MacCallum
as Lewis Smythe
as George Fitch
as Sakai Hiroshi
as Chinese Soldier
as Stage Manager
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Critic Reviews for Nanking
The lesson here is not simply to vilify the Japanese soldiers of that era, but to make sure that we never forget who we are and what our country stands for today.
Sheds light on particular wartime atrocities largely neglected in the collective memory.
Nanking doesn't tell us why decency and compassion completely break down from time to time. It just tells us something terribly modern and all too familiar.
Nanking is grim but ultimately uplifting, a reminder that even in dangerous times, brave individuals can hold the line against barbarism.
Anyone who sees Nanking should know going in what a brutal story it is, but no one should miss it because of a restrictive rating.
Audience Reviews for Nanking
Straightforward and to the point, this documentary on the seldom heard Nanking atrocities is as intelligent as it is well made.
[font=Century Gothic]"Nanking" is a devastating documentary about the 1937 occupation and rape of Nanking(it is estimated there were 20,000 rapes in the first month) by the Japanese army.(I had heard this event mentioned on occasion but never seen it documented with this level of detail.) A group of Westerners stayed past the evacuations on a mission of mercy, setting up a safety zone in an attempt to save as many civilians as they can.(They saved as many as 250,000 people.) Among their number, were a group of Americans and one Nazi businessman, John Rabe.(On the one hand, Rabe being a part of this courageous humanitarian mission is beyond irony. But his petitiioning his government for help does present new evidence into the debate of what the German people knew and when did they know it.) Of particular concern were former Chinese troops who were being summarily executed and of course any women.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Along with archival and newswreel footage, interviews with Chinese survivors and Japanese soldiers involved in the atrocities, the movie has actors including Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway, Jurgen Prochnow, Chris Mulkey, Rosalind Chao, Stephen Dorff, and Mark Valley read testimony from the observers straight to the camera.(They felt that if their testimony could be heard by the outside world, then pressure could be applied to stop the atrocities, especially by the Japanese public but it does not seem likely since they were stirred into a militaristic and patriotic fervor by their dictatorial government.) It does take a little while to get used to this technique but it is as effective as everything else in this superb antiwar film. [/font]
Talking-head format robs actions both harrowing and heroic of their full impact.
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