|發表於: 一月 星期一 29, 2007 10:41 am 文章主題: A Japanese audience after viewing the .......
The author of the article below recorded his
personal conversation with a
Japanese audience after viewing the documentary,
Nanking, directed by Bill
Guttentag and Dan Sturman at the Sundance Film
A Japanese soldier prepares to behead a Chinese
man in this image from the
documentary Nanking, which chronicles a group of
Westerners who attempted to
save Chinese lives during the 1937 invasion.
Sometimes a bus ride is more than a bus ride.
Saturday, I emerged from Park City's Library
Center Theatre into a graying
afternoon. Snow had begun falling, and my mood
was anything but festive.
In addition to coping with the usual Sundance
hassles, I'd just watched
Nanking, a heartbreaking documentary about the
Japanese bombing and ravaging
of the city of Nanking in 1937.
In the history of human atrocities, Nanking holds
a dark place. Some 20,000
Chinese women were raped in the first month of a
brutal Japanese occupation.
A total of 250,000 Chinese died and many more
were forever scarred by what
The film represents the kind of innovative
nonfiction film that typifies
this year's documentaries, according to festival
director Geoffrey Gilmore.
Directors Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman have
found horrific archival
footage, but also employ a cast of actors
(sitting in a circle) to read
testimony from westerners who were in Nanking
during the invasion, and who
ultimately tried to establish a safe zone within
the city. Their goal: to
protect as many Chinese as possible. Among the
actors we see are Woody
Harrelson and Mariel Hemingway.
This technique becomes less apparently
self-conscious as footage from 1937
and riveting testimony from survivors begin to
But back to that bus ride. While waiting for a
bus after the screening, I
struck up a conversation with a man who had just
watched the same film.
"What did you think?" I asked.
He smiled and paused for a moment.
"Well, I'm Japanese," he said.
Neither of us said anything for a minute. I tried
to imagine how difficult
it would be to watch Nanking, knowing your
country had been responsible for
horrors that rose to the level of war crimes.
"How old are you?" I asked.
"I'm 38. So, what did you think of the film?"
"Very powerful," I said.
"Yes, but I wonder, 'Why now?' Why 60 years later
are we seeing this film?"
"I guess it's because many of us (myself
included) don't know enough about
this sad chapter of history. Do you agree that
that's a strong enough
"Yes," he said. "I knew about Nanking, but . . ."
He went on to tell me that he was a former
journalist who now worked as a
film distributor. He was at Sundance mostly to
look at documentaries. He
said that his generation knows that something
took place in Nanking, but may
be unaware of the magnitude of what happened. In
any case, Nanking remains a
controversial subject in Japan, he said.
"We have to get along with the Chinese," he said.
When we got on the bus, we turned our
conversation to other matters and
other films. But I credit this man with looking
at a film that probably has
little commercial value in his own country. He
was willing to acknowledge a
painful reality and talk about it with a
That's a better bus ride than you can get in most
places, and one of the
real pleasures of this film festival.
2006 C The E.W. Scripps Co.
Darkness of 'Nanking' is forever meaningful
By Robert Denerstein, Rocky Mountain News
January 27, 2007
Yale Divinity School Library C Bloomberg