Wednesday, July 7, 2010
In contrast to the industrial efficiency of the Nazi machine of extermination, the scene in Nanking is one of bestiality at it's unimaginable lowest-women and girls bayoneted after rape, children bayoneted, crowds machine-gunned and the survivors bayonneted. It is alarming to discover that we human beings have such potential for bestiality, that evil can exist in such collectivised form, and even gain social sanction and admiration within the social mass comprising the perpetrators. The Japanese officers turn the eyes away, their embassy offers lame justification.
The film skillfully weaves narration and footage to present a coherent and adequate portrayal of one of the most goresome chapters of modern history. Since we have become immunized to images, the narrative form which the movie eloquently conveys the enormity through gestures, expressions, and tears. This enactment of the written words of the witnesses, victims and still nonchalant perpetrators ( the capacity for contrition seems ill-developed in human beings) is what gives the documentary it's force of reality. The film is balanced and engrossing, with no attempt at exaggeration or dramatization (there is no scope for that).