Film pair approved for screening

HONG KONG — Two pics dealing with Japan’s slaughter of Chinese civilians during the 1930s have been approved for screening by China’s censor and are due to unspool nationwide next month.

Japan invaded China in 1931, and the brutal occupation of the Chinese wartime capital of Nanking, now called Nanjing, in 1937 is a source of friction between China and Japan even today.

The Chinese allege that more than 300,000 were killed, one third of the city’s buildings were burned, and more than 20,000 women were raped in six weeks in 1937, although some Japanese historians claim the numbers were much lower.

Many Chinese believe Japan has failed to atone sufficiently for the atrocities during what has become known as the Rape of Nanking.

Lu Chuan’s “Nanjing! Nanjing!,” also called “City of Life and Death,” is slated for release on April 22, China Film Group spokeswoman Huang Lian said.

Lu’s film looks at the massacre from the perspectives of a Chinese soldier, a Japanese soldier and a foreign missionary. The censors assessed the film over a period of five months, and a couple of violent scenes had to be revised.

Oscar-winning German helmer Florian Gallenberger’s biopic about Nazi party member John Rabe, who saved hundreds of thousands of lives by setting up a safe area in the city during the attack, will be released on April 28, Tang Jingting of Huayi Brothers confirmed.

The Chinese-German co-production with Huayi stars Steve Buscemi and Ulrich Tukur. It, too, required revising to pass the censors.

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