Flowers of War (金陵十三钗) & City of Life and Death南京! 南京
Two films, one story
Zhang Yimou’s new film on the massacre in Nanjing, Flowers of War (金陵十三钗), is the second major Chinese production to hit international cinemas on this topic in the last few years, the other being Lu Chuan’s City of Life and Death (南京 南京). Having now seen both, I’ll try to compare and contrast them.
Both films are set during the early days of the Japanese conquest and occupation of Nanjing (南京) in 1937; Nanjing which was then the capital of the Republic of China. It was during this period that the Japanese committed the atrocities that were to become known as the “The Rape of Nanjing”. It is estimated that over 300,000 people were killed and thousands of women raped.
City of Life and Death(南京! 南京!) by Lu Chuan
Filmed in black and white, Lu Chuan’s film conveys all the horrors and brutality of the destruction of Nanjing and its people under the Japanese occupation. Grey scene after scene, tense, gripping, and harrowing scene after scene, the spectator is left numb by the cruelty meted out by the Japanese army. The scene where the Japanese machine guns kill off the Chinese prisoners of war is horrific; yet, it represents the true events that took place on December 18, 1937, on the banks of the Yangtze River.
China Film Festival (El Matadero, Madrid, 2 February to 14 March)
Apart from the exhibition, visitors to the Matadero can also take in one or two Chinese films or documentaries a day, in the small projection room to the right of the entrance. From Tuesday to Friday, the sessions are at 17.00 and at 19.30; on Saturdays they are at 12.00 and at 16.00; on Sundays sessions may be at 12.00, 14.00 or 16.00. Programmes are available at the reception desk, or on-line at the Casa Asia web site.
Here is an overview of the films we have managed to see so far:
The Road 芳香之路(2002, directed by Zhang Jiarui) is the moving coming-of-age story of a young girl, Li Chunfen, set against the Cultural Revolution of the 60’s and 70’s.
Li Chunfen is a sweet and naïve young girl works as a ticket seller on a bus driven by Lao Cui, a decent, quiet man and a model worker who has been praised by Chairman Mao himself. Every day, their trusty old bus travels the precarious mountain roads of eastern Yunnan, connecting isolated villages and providing a valuable life line. In the course of these travels, Continue reading “China Film Festival Madrid (El Matadero)”
Also close to Chengdu is the town of Huanglongxi. Though not on the foreign tourist map, it is definitely a must for domestic tourists. Huanglongxi has been the stage set for many of China’s most famous soap operas, TV series and historical dramas, as well as some of Hong Kong’s biggest Kung Fu blockbusters, and more recently the box office hit ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’.