Movie night: Nanking

Found a handful of movies on or about China in the JCCC library, and


started with Nanking, a documentary with real footage and photos, and interviews  with people  – Chinese civilians and Japanese soldiers.

Some serious actors read letters and journal accounts of the people they “portray” but there is no reenactment.

Nanking” tells the story of the rape of Nanking, one of the most tragic events in history. In 1937, the invading Japanese army murdered over 200,000 and raped tens of thousands of Chinese. In the midst of the horror, a small group of Western expatriates banded together to save 250,000 — an act of extraordinary heroism.


It surprised me that Nazi’s and protestant missionaries worked together  – but the accounts of atrocities, the use of bayonets as pitchforks to stab and throw infants, murder by mass rape, etc. I’d heard before;  I even have an image seared in my brain from when I was wandering the streets in Taiwan outside a theater – where a Japanese soldier stuck a grenade in a toddler’s staddling.  That brought a bunch of women running toward the child, and effectively reduced them to a chunky mist.

The documentary moved me – by the stories more than the images, but there were graphic and powerful images.   I’ve decided to watch it in chunks rather than all at once.

This has application toward memoirs in Comp 1, as well as history.