According to Dubravka Lakic, programme selector, this superbly shot black-and-white film is a magnificent and ultimately cruel saga on ruthlessness of war and its victims. City of Life and Death is based on historical facts, especially events of 1937 and on testimonies of rare surviving witnesses of the operation called Rape of Nanjing (or Nanjing Massacre) during which 300.000 Chinese civilians were murdered and 20.000 to 80.000 women were raped by soldiers of Imperial Japanese Army. Chuan’s film swings from superbly directed war spectacle to a dramatic, impressionistic portrayal of everyday life in destroyed city. Also, film counts in moments of moral dilemmas which naturally impose themselves during times of war. All participants in these events, including cruel occupiers, have a human face, human faults and virtues, needs for moments of happiness and a desire to live. From all that a truly complex film came into being, exciting and shocking at moments, equally important for both China and Japan and for all those wounds that still hadn’t healed.