Watch the full film on the
Welcome to Fandor. Watch thousands of award-winning films online. ×
also known as Nanjing! Nanjing!

City of Life and Death2011

  • 4.3
CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH, a stunning depiction of the Rape of Nanking, is "a film strong enough to change your life" (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times). Director Lu Chuan based the film on the recorded witness testimony from the real-life survivors of the massacre, meticulously recreating the infamous reign of terror conducted by the occupying Japanese army in the Chinese capital of Nanking in 1937. The first big-budget fiction film by the Chinese to deal with this seminal event, CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH paints an epic portrait of wartime conflict, filled with an ensemble of conflicted characters caught in the crossfire, including Chinese officer Lu (Liu Ye), who leads his men in a hopeless, defiant resistance effort; the German businessman, John Rabe (John Paisley), who establishes a safety zone in an attempt to protect civilians; and Japanese soldier Kadokawa (Hideo Nakaizumi), who struggles to live with his conscience in a city where executions are commonplace. Lu is "an extraordinary visual artist" (Manohla Dargis, NY Times), and CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH contains searing black and white images that are impossible to shake, creating an unforgettable masterpiece of contemporary world cinema.

Copy embed code

×

What makes this film worth watching? See All Reviews

"The horrors it represents can be almost too difficult to watch, yet you keep watching because [the writer/director] makes the case that you must." - Manohla Dargis, New York Times


2 members like this review

Not a typical war film though it's battle scenes rival the opening of Saving Private Ryan. The brutality of the massacre is well known. Here it coexists with ambiguity, a point of view that is a total surprise from a Chinese director. The characters looked and felt real. I was caught up in their emotions and came away thinking this was a good and unusual film.

Cast & Crew
Starring
Directed By
Produced By
Cinematography
Edited By
Written By
Music By
Genres Festivals & Awards Related Articles

Member Reviews (9)

Not a typical war film though it's battle scenes rival the opening of Saving Private Ryan. The brutality of the massacre is well known. Here it coexists with ambiguity, a point of view that is a total surprise from a Chinese director. The characters looked and felt real. I was caught up in their emotions and came away thinking this was a good and unusual film.

2 members like this review

Very interesting

1 member likes this review

excellent film,a story that needs re-telling over and over again-because its happening today,-our taxes are paying for abuses like this all over the world

1 member likes this review
146220.small
top reviewer

Horrifying imagery I will not forget. An unblinking view of valuable history we cannot afford to forget. Gives one insight into the tension and hostility between China and Japan. Also, you know it's bad when the hero is a Nazi.

I'm giving 5 stars to a film I couldn't watch. After 20-30 minutes, I became too stressed and overwhelmed by this brilliant depiction of the horror of war to continue. "Saving Private Ryan" is a cake walk compared to this.

Great movie, parts hard to watch. Sympathetic to all sides without sugar coating what actually happened, at least as far as I understand it.

Very sad and dark. Usually not my cup of tea, but wanted to educate myself on Asia before the US entered WW2. Not an inspiring movie in any regard, but I do think it is an intense reminder of man's inhumanity to man. Gives insight into the Chinese struggles in the 20th century. Wonderful acting.

Just might be the greatest movie ever made. If you can watch this and not end up emotionally drained, then I guess you just don't understand it. Beautiful yet disturbing insight to the inhumanity toward man and of the courage of the brave.

Very sad and tragic story. Well told.