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City of Life and Death(南京!南京!)

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.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

70

Village Voice by J. Hoberman

City of Life and Death is far more convincing as a spectacle of mass atrocity than a drama of individual conscience.
60

Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

The movie skips along episodically; it's not quite as sharp as a war narrative needs to be, even if its nightmarish psychology feels spot-on.
100

The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

City of Life and Death isn't cathartic: it offers no uplifting moments, just the immodest balm of art. The horrors it represents can be almost too difficult to watch, yet you keep watching because Mr. Lu makes the case that you must.
83

The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

The film never feels entirely staid: Lu wriggles out of convention where he can, especially in the first half, and engages with history as an artist, not a hagiographer.
88

Philadelphia Inquirer by Steven Rea

Chuan's unsettlingly beautiful black-and-white, wide-screen account of those nightmare six weeks, re-creates that horror in ways that are at once allusive and lucid, mixing cinematic impressionism with documentary-like detail.
88

Boston Globe by Wesley Morris

Here the Japanese senses of honor and of shame are particularly entangled. Later in the film, Lu mounts an Imperial Army parade through the Nanking ruins. It's something to see.

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