On December 9, 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army laid siege to the Chinese capital of Nanking, beginning a reign of terror that killed as many as 300,000 civilians -- an infamous tragedy now referred to as the Rape of Nanking. The first big-budget fiction film by the Chinese to deal with this seminal event in their modern history, CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH is a visceral, heartbreaking portrait of life during wartime, and an unforgettable masterpiece of contemporary world cinema.
Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
The horrors it represents can be almost too difficult to watch, yet you keep watching because Mr. Lu makes the case that you must.Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 05.10.2011
It's a film strong enough to change your life, if you can bear to watch it at all.Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, 06.16.2011
Lu Chuan makes this feature film soar by telling the story both through the eyes of the Japanese occupiers and the defenseless Chinese civilians in the ancient capital. It makes the savagery all the more senseless.David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, 09.22.2011
Lu's distinction lies in the cinematic virtuosity he brings to orchestrating carnage, the calculated attention he pays to human interest, and the globalist, universalizing attitude inherent in both.J. Hoberman, Village Voice, 05.11.2011