Tuesday, January 17, 2012

City of Life and Death

Hugely impressed with this film. Ambitious and overwhelming like Coppola's Apocalypse Now or Kurosawa's Ran with the sensibilities of Jarmusch, Fellini, or even Bergman(maybe hints of the Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr). Might be one of the most effecting cinematic exploration of that vast collective failing of humanity we call the second world war. The sino-japonese war was the most brutal(along with the eastern front) of the many conflicts and this film gives an unflinching document of one the most brutal, controversial, and legendary moments, the rape of Nanking. Lu Chuan with a refusal to demonize, a lack of sentiment, and beautiful refined artistic sensibility proves a perfect witness. The humanity of all involved is showed; the Japanese soldiers, the desperate foreign aid workers, the Chinese soldiers, and the innocent which makes the horror that much more powerful and troubling. I found this movie by accident(streaming on netflix) and it is without a doubt the best Chinese movie I have ever seen, and one of the better movies I have seen in quite a while.

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