A powerful, emotional and relevant reminder of the heartbreaking toll war takes on the innocent, Nanking tells the story of the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China, in the early days of World War II. As part of a campaign to conquer all of China, the Japanese subjected Nanking – which was then China’s capital – to months of aerial bombardment, and when the city fell, the Japanese army unleashed murder and rape on a horrifying scale. In the midst of the rampage, a small group of Westerners banded together to establish a Safety Zone where over 200,000 Chinese found refuge. Unarmed, these missionaries, university professors, doctors and businessmen – including a Nazi named John Rabe – bored witness to the events, while risking their own lives to protect civilians from slaughter.
The story is told through deeply moving interviews with Chinese survivors, chilling archival footage and photos of the events, and testimonies of former Japanese soldiers. At the heart of Nanking is a filmed stage reading of the Westerners’ letters and diaries, featuring Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway and Jurgen Prochnow. Through its interweave of archival images, testimonies of survivors, and readings of first hand accounts, the film puts the viewer on the streets of Nanking and brings the forgotten past to startling life.
Nanking is a testament to the courage and conviction of individuals who were determined to act in the face of evil and a powerful tribute to the resilience of the Chinese people – a gripping account of light in the darkest of times.
This film has also won several awards:
Winner, Best Cinematography Award, Chicago International Documentary Film Festival, 2007
Winner, Humanitarian Award, Hong Kong International Film Festival, 2007
Winner, Crystal Heart Award, Heartland Film Festival, 2007
Winner, Audience Favorite Award, Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, 2007
Winner, Director’s Choice Award, Sedona International Film Festival, 2007
Winner, Best Documentary Film, Sedona International Film Festival, 2007
Winner, Excellence in Filmmaking Award, Sedona International Film Festival, 2007
Winner, Best Documentary Editing, Sundance Film Festival, 2007
And nominated for other awards
Nominated, Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival, 2007
Nominated, Documentary Screenplay Award, Writers Guild of America, 2008
Watch the trailer for Nanking: