Monday, April 11, 2016

IHL Film Series: "Nanking" and the Horror of Wartime Atrocities

By Cassie Schoon

Philanthropist and former AOL Chairman Ted Leonis read Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking on vacation in 2005, and began researching the event himself. He was inspired by the book and his own findings to produce the Nanking and made the unconventional move to offer the documentary available online at no cost. Nanking received acceptance to the 2007 Sundance festival and earned a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary category. The film includes notable performances by Woody Harrelson and Mariel Hemingway.

Accounts of wartime atrocities in 1930s Asia are controversial, and Nanking was no exception. Japanese historians and political figures claimed the documentary was pro-China, anti-Japanese propaganda. Japanese nationalist filmmaker Satoru Mizushima was prompted to follow the release of Nanking with his own The Truth about Nanjing, denying the massacre, less than a year later. As recently as 2014, the head of Japan’s public broadcasting organization asserted that the incident never occurred. Though the event itself was nearly eight decades ago, tensions around the atrocity and others during the Sino-Japanese wars still strain relations between Japan and China.

The film will be screened at 5:30 pm Thursday, April 14, at the Red Cross, 444 Sherman St., in Denver. A roundtable discussion will follow the presentation of the film and its connections to International Humanitarian Law, laws of armed conflict, and the advancement of human dignity. To RSVP for the event, click here. For more information, contact Tim Bothe.

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