The Walker Art Center presents the area premiere of Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman’s powerful documentary Nanking, Wednesday, November 28, 7:30 pm, the latest film in the series Premieres: First Look, an ongoing presentation of area premieres that gives audiences an early look at tomorrow’s critically acclaimed classics. Nanking is an evocative documentary based on the book The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang, which uses letters, diaries, interviews with survivors, and archival footage and photos to explore the events of the 1937–1938 Japanese occupation of Nanking, China, that led to murder and sexual assault on a horrific scale. An unlikely partnership of China-based Westerners—including professors, businessmen, and missionaries—banded together in a safety zone and saved 250,000 lives. The film is a powerful, emotional and relevant reminder of the heartbreaking toll war takes on the innocent. Sundance winner for Best Editing. A discussion follows, at which Iris Chang’s parents, Ying Ying and Shau Jin Chang, will be in attendance. 2007, U.S., in English, Japanese, and Mandarin with English subtitles, 90 minutes. Special thanks to KaiMay Terry and THINKFilm.
PLEASE NOTE: The producers of Nanking have asked that publicity for the film be limited to capsule reviews on
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—including a Nazi named John Rabe—established a safety zone where Chinese found refuge. Unarmed, the group 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 interweaving 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.
Tickets to Nanking are $12 ($10 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600. The screening takes place in the Walker Cinema.