An upcoming film about a Catholic priest during the “Rape of Nanjing”

Via CMR I read this:

This looks pretty interesting. MTV reports:

Bale will headline “Nanjing Heroes,” a period drama about the Massacre of Nanjing, also known as the”Rape of Nanking, from award-winning Chinese Zhang Yimoufilmmaker Zhang Youmi [Zhang Yimou] (“Hero,” “Raise the Red Lantern”)…  [If you haven’t seen his films…. see them.  You could do worse than to start with The Road Home, a gorgeous film about tradition and continuity.]

In the film, Bale will play an American Catholic priest who shelters a group of prostitutes and female students in his church during the Massacre of Nanking, a 1937 invasion in which Japanese soldiers stormed China’s then-capital and murdered and raped thousands of Chinese citizens.

Based on Yan Geling’s novel “The 13 Women of Nanjing,” the film will begin shooting in China in January, with roughly 40 percent of the dialogue spoken in English and the rest in Mandarin.

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  1. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I just became aware of a fairly recent film about the rape of Nanking when I saw a dvd of it in a shop: ‘John Rabe’, about the Nazi who (surprisingly?) helped the Chinese against Nazi Germany’s Japanese ally. Does anyone know it? The official trailer (on You Tube) looks good.

  2. J Kusske says:

    Not all that surprising that he helped the Chinese actually–the Guomindang had been close to the Nazis too and Chiang Kaishek had German military advisors helping him run his anti-Communist campaigns. The Japan-German alliance didn’t really cut that off until the formal Axis pact a bit later. The movie certainly looks good and the story is absolutely true. Hopefully the new “13 Women of Nanjing” will get good play here, and show the Church in a good light.

  3. tianzhujiao says:

    I look forward to seeing this movie when it is released. I was in Nanjing a few years ago and visited the “Nanjing Massacre Memorial.” It was an extremely touching experience. I could not help noticing that a monument near the entrance was shaped in the form of a cross ( .

  4. tianzhujiao says:

    I pasted the wrong link in my previous comment. Here is the correct one:

  5. Apparently the real-life person, that the priest character is based on, was a married Anglican priest named John Magee. His wife was also an Anglican missionary; he met her in China. I don’t know whether she was still in the country when all this happened.

    This seems to be another case of Catholicism making a better film picture….

  6. John Gillespie Magee’s wife Faith was out of Nanking by the time the Japanese got in. Magee wrote letters to her about it. Something I didn’t know: Their son was the poet/pilot John Gillespie Magee, Jr. who wrote “High Flight” before his own early death in a Spitfire accident, while serving with the Canadians/RAF in WWII.

    Oh, and Magee Sr. is the guy who secretly filmed footage of the horrible stuff that went on in Nanking, as evidence that the Chinese weren’t just making this up to discredit the Japanese. The films were smuggled out in the lining of his camel-hair coat by the guy who ran the Nanking YMCA, who showed the films all over the US in a lecture tour to get help for the Chinese. You can watch them, if you’ve got the stomach for it. I don’t think I do. I expect that the documentary filmmaking aspect will be a big deal to the filmmakers, if it got into the historical novel at all. If it’s all about the women, not so much.

  7. chcrix says:

    “‘John Rabe’, about the Nazi who (surprisingly?) helped the Chinese against Nazi Germany’s Japanese ally”

    Surprising? I don’t see why. After all, defending the civilian population during a military assault is not acting against the Japanese, it is just a natural humanitarian response. The courage of Herr Rabe consisted in going out into a dangerous and disordered environment to protect people. He was able to use his instantly recognizable Nazi uniform to intimidate the Japanese soldiers – precisely because the Japanese were allied with Germany. An Englishman or an American had proportionally less traction.

    Remember also two other things about this incident: First, the Japanese forces were out of control – that is their officers lost control of them. While this is a fault in command, it is not the same as actively ordering atrocities. Second, the vast majority of civilian deaths involved were committed by the disintegrating Kuomintang army – not the IJArmy. Armies that are falling apart and heading for the hills are not particular about who or what they are shooting at. (Source for these observations is a book called “Soldiers of the Sun” a not pro-Japanese account of the history of the IJA in the twentieth century through WWII).

  8. bookworm says:

    One of the first and best books about this sorry chapter of Asian history is “The Rape of Nanking” by the late Iris Chang, whose grandparents survived the Nanjing Massacre. I read it several years ago.

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