‘The Rape Of Nanking’ movie?

August 17, 2006

I ran into this via Shanghaiist :

A film about the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, based on the late Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking, is going to be made this coming year, with expected release dates in China of late 2007 and 2008 worldwide.

Sorry I’m about to get political..

I’m definitely all for awareness of what actually happened in Nanking during the Japanese WWII invasion BUT I’m extremely worried about how this will turn out. I wouldn’t even dare to make this event into a movie.

If the film does any justice to the book and what ACTUALLY happened during the Massacre, it’ll probably be the most gory, most violent, most disgusting film ever produced. Hands down. I’ve seen really powerful, moving, heart-braking war films but if this event is eventually put to screen, this would probably trump them all. It’s probably because it’s so close to home (me being Chinese).

After reading the book myself (though not having to finish it because it was too distrubing), I thought if I would be able to make a movie about the Massacre. Easily, no matter how much someone would pay me to direct the film, be it like 10 million or whatever, I honestly would say I wouldn’t be able to do it (seriously). To me, its just a way too sensitive and a heart-wrenching subject to be put on screen. For thousands tortured, raped and killed (est 300,000 in 3 months), I don’t think I can do justice to the victims. I think the content and the pure vividness of the book written by Chang (who committed suicide) was too graphic and too much for any reader.

I admire the balls on whoever is directing this film but it better be damn good, it better be sensitive to the victims and it better have a great angle on the story. I honestly wouldn’t even know how they can make a story out of it.

I think its good to promote awareness for the event but as some Chinese, there are still some built up tension towards the Japanese. Making this film will only make things worse. Riots and boycotts over the Japanese occured 2 years ago (?) when it was learned that the Japanese were altering and neglecting parts of WWII. This included the specific events of Nanjing. As well, the current Japanese PM continue to mourn the war criminals, some of whom were part of this event. Imagine if this film gets produced and viewed. The last thing anyone wants is excessive nationalism  in China, a reminder of what happened and resulting hatred toward the Japanese.

I’m not saying let’s forget about the event but I wish there was a better way to aware people of what happened and I don’t know if a film is the best way to do it. Let’s hope to God the studio whoever is producing it isn’t looking solely for financial purposes.

If it were up to me, I’d rather not have the film produced. If and/or when the film comes out, I don’t think I will be able to watch it unless the angle of the film is different from the one of the book. The book and the real photos of what happened were already too graphic/vivid enough for me.

If you want to learn more about the Nanjing Massacre, click here.

Side note:

I do not hold any hate or anger towards the Japanese because the WW2 masscre in Nanjing. I believe it is completely wrong that a lot of Chinese have blamed the Japanese people and believed all the Japanese people during that time should be responsible for the event.

The only ones who should be responsible are the ones who tortured, raped and killed the victims of the Nanjing Massacre- The Japanese army who performed the killings, the government who were aware of what was happening at the time and the supervisors who allowed the army to willingly take the lives of hundreds of thousands of victims.

Advertisements

8 Responses to “‘The Rape Of Nanking’ movie?”

  1. Elaine Says:

    The potential film is one thing, but Iris Chiang died for the truth. (I’m gonna get on my soapbox too.) I was fortunate enough to meet Iris’ mother, father, and brother in 2005 when I was working in Asian American nonprofit. I decided it was high time someone in her hometown area honored her with an award for her contributions to the community and literature. Her family was still very sensitive and visibly heartbroken over her tragic death. But they were humbled that she was being honored, just as she should be.

    I don’t know how I feel about the film. I’m always for more accurate images of Asian Americans in mainstream Hollywood, but it may open wounds that don’t need to be highlighted.

  2. Jonathan Ng Says:

    Hey Elaine! I haven’t talked to you in a while. I appreciate you posting on my blog!

    Anyways, I didn’t know you met Iris Chang’s family. Definitely a honour. She most definitely should be awknowledged and thanked for what she did. If it wasn’t for her, I and many Chinese people living abroad wouldn’t know the story behind what had happened. She opened up an important event in Chinese history which had been overlooked.

    I’m just worried about how the film is going to turn out. Apparently it’s being produced in China so it’ll be interesting on how they’re going to approach it. The truth DEFINITELY needs to be told but if it’s Chinese produced, the potential to become a nationalistic/propaganda film could become problematic in Sino-Japanese relations.

    Perhaps if it was produced in Hollywood, it might be a bit more diplomatic though making sure the truth will be told.

    I agree with you how there isn’t enough accurate images of Asians in Hollywood. Tired of the cliches and the typecasting some Asians are being casted as. Hopefully that will change but I don’t see it happening anytime soon as far as mainstream Hollywood is concerned.

    Thanks for replying again Elaine!

  3. ona Says:

    history is like stories to Ona, it deceives us sometimes and it tells the truth as well. Ona witnessess her own history, Ona sees the truth thru her life. the Nanking massacre should be a real story, real story gets us understand not to make the other mistake again in history.
    I got no comments on the movie itself, coz the script might have been altered apart from the true history.

  4. Paul So Says:

    July 9, 2007
    I am glad the movie is finally out. Perhaps a handful more will learn about this tragic event in Chinese history. I was born in Hong Kong and had learned about the Nanking Massacre in school history books and from my parents. What I didn’t learn was how these awful murders were committed. Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking truly rattled me. Iris deserved great recognition for her courage in writing this book. The atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers to the innocent Chinese are just as wicked as what the Nazis did to the Jewish people. They both took place in the same time period. Unlike the holocaust, though, the Nanking Massacre is virtually unknown. Is it any less hideous that only hundreds of thousands were brutally slaughtered instead of millions? Isn’t there a lesson to be learned? Most regretably, most Japanese citizens are unaware of it (you won’t find it in Japanese history books), and some of the “leading” citizens are actually denying it ever occurred. What a shame!

  5. Anthony C. Meldahl Says:

    I’m glad you brought up this topic and expressed your fears about the consequences of the film. Let me introduce myself. I am the man who is responsible for the death of iris Chang. I recruited her to tell a second horrifying story of WWII Japanese atrocities committed by a variety of institutions and individuals (Special Unit 731 in Shenyang China, Mitsubishi Hvy Industries, Kawasaki Hvy Ind, Mitsui etc etc. These were atrocities comitted against American POWs, soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen. Most were very young men. Only 50% made it home. And those survivors suffered for the rest of their lives. Iris was working on a book at teh time of her suicide, with the provisional title” Bataan Tankers”. It was the story of a National Guard tank company and the story the suffering experienced by the people of the town.

    Let me correst soem of your errors:
    The Rape of Nanking was made into a documentary style film by Ted Leonsis, VP of AOL and Billionaire. M. Henningway and Woody Harrolson (sp?) are twof the actors. It supposedly uo for consideration at teh Sundance Film Festival. Leonsis made US film history by selling the rights to air the movies to teh PRC, uncensors for Chinese television. So the doo doo is going to hit the fan twice. Firstly when the Leonsis movies is aired on Chinese TV for the 70th year anniversary of this appauling atrocity. The next seismic event will be th epublishing of the Bataan Tankers book. It will have another name/title and will be coauthored by Joseph L. Galloway and iris Chang. Estimated completion date is November 2008. That will be cuttin git close but I’m devoting my full time as Joe’s (and Iris’ in absentia) research assistant.
    As Iris discussed so well in her book..THE REASON THIS STORY MUST BE TOLD AND AIRED IN JAPAN IS:

  6. Anthony C. Meldahl Says:

    …IS: THE JAPANESE ARE IN DENIAL. THE GERMAN’S AREN’T. THEY EMBRACED SCHINDLER’S LIST. THE GERMAN CORPORATIONS PAID MILLIONS BACK TO THE ESTATED OF THEIR SLAVE LABORERS.
    I LIKE JAPANESE. THEY AS A WHOLE ARE MUCH MORE PEACEFUL THAN US (THE US AND THE PRC)AND ARE BETTER CITIZENS IN A DEMOCRACY.
    jAPANESE PHARMACY COMPANIES GOT INVOLVED IN DRUGGING AND DESTROYING IRS CHANG’S MIND. THEY SURE AS HELL DID A NUMBER ON ME TOO. IRIS WAS A GONER AFTER GOING 2 MONTHS WITH NO SLEEP. AFTER HER SUICIDE I COULDN’T SLEEP FOR 8 MONTHS AND LOST 30 POUNDS. THAT AIN’T JUST COINCIDENCE. I SHOULD BE DEAD BUT UNFAIR AS IT IS I’M STILL HERE. IRIS GOT THE RAW DEAL. WELL, I’VE GOT THE TIGER BY THE TAIL NOW. THIS IS INTERNATIONAL RODEO “T.MELDAHL” STYLE. MONITOR THIS THING AND SEE ME AT WORK AS A LION TAMER DEALING WITH THE “TORA-TORA-TORA”. CHINESE CALL A TIGER A LAU HUOA. THE OHIO ARMY NATIONAL GUARD HATES MY GUTS. I AM A SERGEANT FIRST CLASS AND THEY SEE THIS AS TROUBLE WITH A CAPITAL “T”. I WAS ORDERED BY MAJOR GENERAL GRAG WAYT TO SHUT DOWN MY NONPROFIT CORPORATION (37TH INF DIV HISTORICAL ASSN 501-3-C) THAT FUNDS MY RESEARCH FOR BATAAN TANKERS. WHEN I REFUSED TO OBEY THIS ILLEGAL ORDER THEY ORDERED ME TO FORT KNOX FOR A MENTAL EVALUATION. THEY ARE OFFERING ME 100% DISABILITY. SCREW THEM. TO SHUT DOWN 37 IDHA IS LIKE KILLING IRIS A SECOND TIME. DAMN THE TORPEDOS, FULL SPEED AHEAD! FINISH READING THE RAPE OF NANKING. EVERY CHINESE AND JAPANESE SHOULD. KNOW HER FINAL CHAPTERS…THEY ARE CRITICAL. IRIS WANSN’T OUT TO “GET” ANYBODY. SHE JUST FOUND HERSELF AS THE ONLY PERSON WHO WOULD AND COULD STAND UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE VICTIMS OF NANKING. SHE HAD CLASS. SHE WAS A FIGHTER. THE OHIO GUARD CALLS THAT A “DANGEROUS MENTAL ILLNESS”. IF THAT’S SO THEN I WANT TO BE MENTALLY ILL. THAT’S THE WAY TO GO. TODAY’S GUARD IS NO LONGER THE MORAL COUNTERPART OF WHAT IT WAS IN 1945 UNDER MAJ GEN ROBERT BEIGHTLER. GENERALS AND COLONELS WITH MORAL COURAGE ARE RARE NOW IN THE OHIO GUARD. THIS WEEK I, THE EMBATTLED FARMER, WILL FIRE THE SHOT (FIGURATIVELY) HEARD ROUND THE WORLD..I’LL START A 4 MILLION DOLLAR LAW SUITE AGAINST THE OHIO GUARD. NO GENERAL WILL TRAMPLE MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO HAVE A NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO CARRYING ON THE WORK OF IRIS CHANG. MY HEAD IS BLOODY BUT UNBOWED. THE DAY I SUBMIT TO OBEYING A CRIMINAL ORDER THAT VIOLATES THE UCMJ IS THE DAY I’LL UNPIN MY AIRBORNE WINGS AND TAKE OFF MY UNIFORM FOR EVER.

  7. Camillia Says:

    It’s true that it is gory and violent, and very graphic as a book. But I don’t think that should really matter THAT much in Cinema…I mean, there are a ton of movies out there which are extremely bloody and heartbreaking.
    And we need to be able to review and recount history in order to learn from our mistakes…otherwise they will just keep repeating themselves (take a look at Germany in WWI and WWII).
    Often it’s better for people to view it in the movies rather than read the book…I mean, how many people would honestly be able to finish that book with a clear and open mind? It’s better that they attempt to endure about 3 hours of visual gore (which some people don’t actually mind too much) than struggle through 5-6 of reading and end up saying “God, I HATED that book it was so long!”. The book is great, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of people out there don’t like reading.
    Also, looking back at my World history textbook here, not many seem to know about Nanjing. In the book there is one, just ONE, paragraph on it.
    Can you imagine? People need to be more aware of these things…and not shove Asians to the side.

  8. Jo-Ee Says:

    Saw the book and it took me almost forever to finish it. Went to the excavation site in Nanking and I would say it’s the most solemn place I’ve ever been. being in the 10,000 pit (where there are 10,000 bodies found) is definitely heart breaking. there’s also excavated sites which has been labelled and underwent forensic procedures..where the cause of death and injuries of the bodies are explained on the board.
    gruesome enough. people of all age range had all sorts of injury. some as brutal as having nails being hit to their joints, bones or even skulls, repeated blunt force trauma on their head, and multiple injuries which are caused by bayonet, gun shot and other unimaginable tools.
    One thing that I don’t understand is that why is it that the hiroshima and nagasaki’s atomic war are given much more importance than the rape of nanking while the death toll in nanking is far greater than those that died in nagasaki and hiroshima?
    i’ve been doing presentations on this topic in university to let people know about this atrocity, to avenge the death of people who died in this war.. that includes iris chang.
    been looking for the movie in Malaysia but it seems to be unavailable.
    Anyone knows where to get it in malaysia?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: