January 12, 2008

Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman, Nanking (2007).

I caught this documentary at the Shattuck yesterday afternoon. Picking up & reinforcing Iris Chang's work, the film frames the work through foreign first hand accounts of Japanese atrocities in Nanjing, taking the written part of the dialogue (as opposed to interviews with massacre survivors) from the letters, journals, and other texts by Western foreigners who satyed in Nanjing to set up a "safety zone" prior to Japanese invasion. When some of the silent film footage shot by Rev. John Magee was shown, many of the older Chinese in the audience started crying. In the West, the Rape of Nanjing is a historical event, but for many Chinese this is still an open wound that the Japanese government continues to fester by not admitting what happened and by allowing text books into their schools that say the massacre never happened, whitewashing over a mountain of evidence carefully assembled by Iris Chang and by the Chinese Government. Hopefully, this film (by virtue of being a film) will reach a wider audience and help initiate another round of discussions around the Nanjing Massacre.



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