Reports are emerging about a film to made chronicling the Japanese atrocities at Nanking. The film Purple Mountain will present the ‘incident’ as seen through the eyes of a mother and daughter. This I’m sorry to say is one war crime that should *not* be made into a ‘popular’ film. The atrocities carried out on a civilian population were beyond belief and for the life of me I cannot see why the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people should be turned into ‘entertainment for the masses’.
The killings alone would have been bad enough, but the incredible sexual brutality the invaders inflicted on the civilian population make this one of *the* worst of the excesses carried out during the entire second world war. In fact it may well rank as *the* greatest crime carried out by any army at any time. Estimates claim 300,000 people were killed and 80,000 women raped… and all in the space of 3 – 4 months! Even the Germans, not noted for their generosity towards civilians called the Japanese army ‘beastly’.
So how is this film supposed to make this sort of behaviours ‘acceptable’? Spielberg’s film ‘Schindler’s List’ tried to cover the horrors of the concentration camps and did a remarkable job, but this incident, with its overtly brutal sexual horrors, might well titillate rather than inform and condemn.
Films that cover the worst aspects of human nature are often unable to convey the depths of depravity involved without exerting a strange fascination all their own. I still think there is no place currently for this sort of film to be made. Documentary yes, but entertainment? No.