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 - bore 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.
Topics: Sundance Film Festival, Historical Drama, War, World War II, International, Japan, Biography, Award Winning, Politics, Social Issues, Veterans, Invasion, Closed Caption, Indiewire Staff Picks, Joel Surnow, Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway, Stephen Dorff, Jurgen Prochnow, Chris Mulkey, Mark Valley