City of Life and Death takes place in 1937, during the height of the Second 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, or the Rape of Nanking, a period of several weeks wherein tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers 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. Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
it made me cry
gave me alot of thoughts about humanity & why would people make wars
I just can't recommend it because it comes self torture at some point seeing all these sense of killing and much more
I just respect it & if you enjoy melodramas you may want to watch a real melodrama here
Everything about this one just sucks you in, and shakes you up entirely.
The black and white execution can, I guess, be a bit different, for watchers not used to old black and white movies, and definitely pretty unusual nowadays. But as I see it, this is one of the most important features of the movie, giving a raw, documentary, and very authentic feel to it. A very smart move by the director, giving the impression that what you are watching, is a piece of naked, at-the-scene history.
Still, the visual of the movie never loses it's insanely beautiful and powerful cinematography, with every frame In-Your-Face, smashing you like a fist of master photo.
The form of this epic piece of film history, is the mellow and minimalistic storytelling of old, classic war drama - composed and restrained, yet the more strong in it's impact.
The actor portraits are strong, convincing and complex, and lets you feel and wonder, rather than just being fed, evolving and revealing more and more as the story unravels.
Especially Nakaizumi Hideo makes an amazing job in his rendition of Kadokawa, and makes me believe, and feel, him.
The score and sound are also powerful, and adds to the air created, and a couple of scenes are epic, unforgettable, in their perfect harmony of visual, score and emotional strength (the scene with the climb to the top to oversee the field of corpses, and the scene with the ritualistic dance). Scenes that makes one shiver to the core - pure cinematic ecstasy.
The story is simple, yet so dense of emotion and complexity, in it's slow pacing leading to a inevitable climax. Never pointing fingers, never glorifying, never picking sides. Just showing the horror of war, naked and raw, never glutting in blood, misery and atrocity, nonetheless giving a deep impact on the Viewer.
This movie is NOT overrated by the people calling it a genuine masterpiece, because it IS.
A powerful, haunting picture of a horrific piece of history, with believable portrayals of HUMANS rather than sides. Humans affected by, and changed by, war. Beautifully told in it's awfulness.
In a word; fantastic.