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Summary

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.

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