Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August 15th, The 62nd Anniversary of the End of WW2...終戦62週年記念特集:抗日戦争記念電影.....終戦62週年記念特集:中日戦争に関する映画プりヴィウー

Today marks the 62nd anniversary of the end of WW2. As usual I have a special post each year to commemorate this significant day given my interest and area of specialisation in the topic of WW2 and Asia.

This years post will focus on film projects that are coming out this and next year which have a WW2 theme.

Also, as a note, res 121 on the comfort women issue was passed by the full house of Congress in late July which demands an official and unambiguous apology from the Japanese parliament on the issue of wartime rape by the Imperial Army during WW2.

Nanking (US/2007):

This Sundance nominated documentary by 'Twin Towers' Oscar winners Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman as well as funded by American AOL vice-chairman Ted Leonsis deals with the group of over a dozen foreigners whom chose to remain in Nanking despite evacuation advice from their embassies. They did as much as they could to protect the chinese civilians and refugees from Japanese barbarity during the Massacre. It weaves archival footage, interviews with Chinese survivors, as well as testimonies of Japanese soldiers with stage readings of the actual diary entries kept by some of the foreigners during the worst days of the Nanking Massacre. Besides Sundance, it has been shown at the Hong Kong Film Festival as well as The Shanghai Int' Film Festival and has been released in China from July 7th onwards. I'm looking forward to seeing it! I think it will have a major impact on worldwide audiences and really help to push the knowledge of the Nanking Massacre (and Japanese WW2 atrocities generally) to a wider audience with the prominence of its directors as well as producer Ted Leonsis. I'm glad an American cared and was moved so much to spend money and make this doco!Way to go Ted:)

Official Site:

Purple Mountain (US-China/2008):

A US-British-China co-production on the Rape of Nanking. It is supposed to cost around US$50 million dollars and is planned for release next year in 2008. The director is Simon West (of LaraCroft fame) and the story revolves around a Chinese mother and her daughter during the Nanking Massacre in 1937 as well as the group of foreigners whom stayed behind to set up and attempt to save the Chinese residents of Nanking during the Japanese invasion and subsequent bloody and horrific occupation of the city. The movie shooting has been delayed and delayed and further the scriptwriter was changed and the American production company also changed due to insufficient funding from the original American one. I hope it does get through.

Nanking Christmas 1937 (US-HK/2008):
This film by HK Director Yim Ho will be an international movie with a focus on the group of foreigners including Germans, Americans, and British residents of Nanking whom stayed behind to assist and defend the Chinese against the brutal Imperial Japanese Army during the Nanking Massacre of 1937-38. It is reported that the director is still scouting for appropriate casts and the script and budget has been approved already. It is set for shooting later in the year.

This film by renowned award-winning Chinese director Lu Chuan of Kekexili fame has already begun shooting in northeastern China and is set for release next yr in 08. The film revolves around a Chinese soldier and his love as well as a Japanese soldier set during the Nanking Massacre in 1937. The script for the movie underwent major problems with Chinese censors (all the films dealing with the Nanking Massacre undergo rigorous approval processes as they are classified 'sensitive topics' and have to be approved by not only the govt. department dealing with films but also the Foreign Ministry as well as other relevant departments.) The cast is not known yet.

The Diary (US-Germany-Japan-China/Not Known Yet):
Major production by Stanley Tong (most famous for his huge action flicks with Jackie Chan such as Police Story series, The Myth,etc) which is apparently going to be the first major film dealing with the entire Sino-Japanese War, and not just the Nanking Massacre, starting from the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in July 1937 all the way to August 1945 when Japan officially surrenders. It reportedly is going to go even further and end with the Tokyo Trials in 1947. The script and finance for the film have both been approved and the director is currently finalising casting as well as location confirmation.

The Children of Huangshi (US-Germany-Australia/2007):

This foreign production is based loosely on the true story of a British man who leads 60 Chinese orphans across rough terrains to the edge of the Gobi desert to escape the oncoming onslaught of Japanese troops in China during WW2. It is currently in post-production and was shot in both China and Melbourne, Australia. It stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh. It is slated for an opening in December in the US and early March next year for China.

Lust, Caution (US-Taiwan/2007):

After Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain comes a Chinese spy romance set in wartime Occupied Shanghai by Ang Lee. It is based on Eileen Chang's short novel which was inspired by true events that occurred. It tells the story of a Chinese girl used by the resistance in China to seduce and assassinate a pro-Japanese colloborator working for the puppet Japanese government in Shanghai during the Japanese Occupation in 1942. In the process, however, she finds that she has already fallen for him. It stars Tony Leung, Tang Wei, Joan Chen as well as Wang LeeHom. It is to be released in September. There was some controversy regarding which country it was produced in during the Venice Film Festival of which it is competing. Ang Lee has always been very proud of his Taiwanese (as well as Chinese) heritage and is known to have refused to naturalise and become an American citizen despite advice from close friends that it could pose as an obstacle to his career in America especially after winning the Oscars for both his latest films. So, whenever his Taiwanese production company is involved in a film he will always insist that the festivals and Academy Awards list 'Taiwan' as the country of origin but this year the Venice Film Fest., due to political reasons, i'm sure, decided to change 'US-Taiwan' on the application form to 'US-China' on their website. After Ang Lee's assistant complained, it was changed back to 'Taiwan.' I am proud of Ang Lee's success.

Anyways, i'm looking forward to seeing his film......

Official Trailer:


gorgutz headhunter said...

Because of Nanking only one generation of Chinese had to suffer, But because of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki generations of Japanese had to suffer. Even though both cities are completely rebuilt still the scars of atomic bombings remain. Young children with deformed respiratory systems. The list of horrors is endless. The author's taste in films seems to be very good.

Even if the Japanese issue an apology what is the great big deal about it. Is it going to change the history or something, or is it simply for satiating the Chinese ego that they are the victimized ones.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

gorgeous headhunter: It is important because it allows the victim nation to heal. It is important becos you can't just commit atrocities and then deny you did anything wrong. In peacetime, we put criminals in jail, but because of the circumstances of war, we could not prosecute the entire Imperial Japanese Army ...thus an acknowledgement and full sorry is the least the Japanese are expected to do. Also the atomic bombings japanese arguement is indeed what you say, to satiate the Japanese ego that they were the victims of WW2 and not the aggressors.
PS: In case you didn't know, chemical weapons affected many Chinese living in the countryside and the effects of leg rotting continue to this day. Further, the Japanese goverment estimates at least 300,000 chemical weapons are still left in china and there have been frequent accidents. (The chinese side estimates at least 2 million chemical weapons used by the Imperial Armed Forces remain in China). So next time you want to talk about the atomic bombing 'excuse' think about the looooooong list of warcrimes committed by the Japanese and anyone with a conscience would shut up about Japanese suffering during WW2.

gorgutz headhunter said...

For your kind information miss hcpen,wartime trials of japanese war criminals were very unfair,They were even more unfair than the "nuremberg trials". All chinese are trying to do in my opinion is trying to gain a sympathy wave just like the way jews have gained one for holocaust. But i am not trying to argue against it. It is their viewpoint and perceptive. But I am angered that a nation which has itself perpetrated many atrocities in taiwan and tibet sits back and criticizes japanese for war crimes. Don't you think it is hipocrisy. And why are you supporting chinese in this viewpoint,You are from taiwan right,aren't you angered at what the chinese government did to your motherland,though you are currently in oz.Sorry if i overreacted.Maybe i don't even have a right to ask you these questions.Anyway i just passed by your blog randomly,and these are just my opinions.keep posting.Also the name is "gorgutz headhunter".

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

gh: Well, I see you are from the right-wing faction. It is typical response of the Japanese rightwing to argue that the Tokyo Trials were unfair. The only thing unfair about the trials was that more people weren't hanged!!
Also I am not biased and irrational like some people, just because China did some stuff to Taiwan DOES NOT MEAN that I must go against everything China says. Thats just plain dumb. This is not about China's side or Japan's is about the truth, about what really happened. Agreeing with the chinese does not mean you must hate japan. Your arguement is very much based on 'taking sides'....Japan must learn that to deny things will not make things go away. Further, it is not only the Chinese whom possess my viewpoint on WW2, the South Koreans as well as SouthEast Asian nations also largely agree that the Japanese were aggressors in WW2. Japan is alone in its historical perception of WW2 either with the West or with the rest of Asia.

gorgutz headhunter said...

why do you have to make statements like :- "The only thing unfair about the trials was that more people weren't hanged!!" . Ok getting deeper into the topic. I had read a book called "emperors new bones" by "Adam Williams" about the japanese occupation period of china. Sorry if i am boring you with history but in the 1920's-1940's three factions dominated china :- "chang-tso lin's"(warlord forces) supported by japanese.Of course the legendary "Kioumintang" under "chiang Kai Shek" and Mao tse tsung's communists. The majority of the atrocities were inflicted not directly by japanese but the warlord chinese forces controlled by the japanese(according to the book). And Chiang-Kai Shek whom many consider to be the father of Taiwan Himself respected japanese philosophy and principles. Japanese occupational forces were mostly made of shady societies called "black label societies",who are thought to be the precursors of "yakuza". So All i am tring to argue is that there could be a reason for the atrocities. Black label society members were known for their ruthlessness. Nanking massacre was perpetrated by members of these shady black label societies. They are in no way are true representatives of imperial japanese army. Also chiang kai shek himself repected japanese a lot. Well china would never have had to go through those famines if chiang kai shek would have won the war. But Mao had to win. Well history is history.

"Great nations are always forged with ruthlessness and bloodshed."

Sharm said...

Hi there,

You are chosen to represent your country in the first international blog
WUB (World United Bloggers)

The aim of this blog is to prove to the world that differences in language, religion,race and nationality do not make us hate each other and we can make this world better if we express our opinions with respect to others.

If you agree to join us please send e-mail with your nick name , age , country and your blog address to where you will be sent an activation mail which makes you entitled to contribute in WUB, your name as one of the contributor will automatically be updated.Please read the rules before you start any posting in WUB where you will also find the aims of this WUB.

Chief WUB,

Sharm .

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

GH: Well, i don't know what kind of book you are reading but you better throw it into the rubbish bin. To say that it was the Chinese whom committed atrocities against the Chinese during WW2 is like saying it was the Jews controlled by the Germans who sent their own into the death camps. Its a ridiculous claim which anyone with an ounce of common sense would be able to figure out. I think the author of that book you read must have been highly delusional whilst writing the book. Also, the atrocities were committed by your average Japanese soldier and not by some dark society elements as you claim. Even the Japanese right wing would not argue that some 'triad' groups composed a section of the Army. Further, the atrocities committed were so widespread and common that we would be indeed kidding ourselves to say that they were merely a 'minor' part of the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan and not 'representative' of the entire Japanese army. If anything, brutality and savagery was the RULE and not the exception for the Japanese Army. I have extensive interest in this area and done personal research as well as subjects in this area during my university days and so i think I just had to correct some of the inaccurate historical views you hold. May I ask which country you come from?

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

sharm: Thanks. I am honoured to be invited as a contributor to your weblog. I will be in touch with u shortly!!!

gorgutz headhunter said...

I do not think it would be necessary for me to mention my country. Anyway i just argued with you in a complete sense. Whatever you said i conterrefuted till you finally wrote the last comment,which was a sort of an angry rebuke. I think you are a very sensitive person. Anyway,Sharm has spammed the message about WUB to almost all of the chinese related blogs you could find,i even found the same comment on other chinese related blogs too. Have a great Day.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

GH: Thanks for letting me know about sharm. About the WW2 issue, I am indeed very sensitive because it is an emotional and sensitive topic. I was just trying to clarify some points but if you feel my explaining to you what the facts are means being angry at you then it can't be helped. I am not angry at you...i mean i don't even know you. Thanks for your input anyways:)