Seriously, I've had such a "tormented" sleep the past two nights and I think at least 75% of the reason was because of flashbulb memories of this movie shooting through my head and freezing the worst possible stills of the film in my mind.
The movie has just recently been released in China. I think it came out on December 18th, 2011. It's pretty much the Asian "Schindler's List". It deals with the time during the 1940's when Japan was occupying Nanking (Nanjing) China during the war. It follows the stories of certain specific characters - this one American man (played by Christian Bale), this group of Chinese school girls, and this group of Chinese call girls/hookers. It's just SO graphic in terms of the raping and bloodshed though. The scenery is beautiful and the individual stories are raw and real and beautiful .... but THE STORY ... is so sad. The ending is kind of a cliff-hanger in a way... but in your gut you know the conclusion... and you can paint a pretty good idea in your head of what happens.
I went and saw this... on Christmas... with my TA Metis, her boyfriend, and Bella my former TA for my Pre-K1 class. Not exactly a "merry and bright" Christmas film, but it was a nice night out with some really great people. Everyone was crying a little during the movie .... so definitely bring tissues if you go. We had great seats right in the mid center. The movie tickets were actually given to us from "Hannah's"- from my Pre=K2 class- mom as a gift a few weeks ago ( Hannah is ....just the sweetest... and so is her mom).
Coming out of the theater Bella said "it makes me hate Japanese people" ... and in the moment that she said I could have almost said "me too" .... because I knew what she meant. Seeing that kind of brutality, makes you hate the group that is doing it. In that moment I truly hated those Japanese soldiers.
(and I do really hate the idea that apparently there's some kind of "it never happened" denial spread across Japan. Like the Holocaust deniers in Germany. That's just ridiculous.... if you have the pictures and the stories... you know it happened. But then again...I have heard that in some rural sections of China they don't teach about the "Tiananmen Square Massacre" in schools... so it seems everyone has their moments that they want to... "forget".)
But NO ONE involved in a war has clean hands. America dropped bombs on innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki .... England starved the Irish people during "The Great Potato Famine" .... and no doubt, I'm sure there has been raping and murder cover ups going on during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan done by Americans. War is an .. awful.... awful thing .... especially for all of the innocent souls who never wanted it in their backyard to begin with. I cannot imagine living through that kind of hell and it makes me want to do something for the trafficking victims that are still being bought/sold/raped today. Children and teens who are still sold into slavery.... work slavery... sex slavery .... it's not something that I think about in my usually "happy everyday" .... but seeing a movie like this ... really hits you.
So instead of agreeing with Bella.... I told her that I understood and I gave her my examples... of my family being from a small country (Ireland) that was fought over and starved and experienced its own hardships back in the day. Metis chimed in with the fact that the story "is history..." it's simply history ... and we have to learn from those mistakes.
Maybe now that I got this story out here I will be able to sleep peacefully tonight?... I promise that I will write a REAL "Christmas Eve and Christmas Day In China" update in the next day or two here. They were both very nice days/nights in different ways .... and I was SO. PROUD. of my kids in the Christmas Talent Show that we put on at my school. Especially hearing them all sing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" for the first time EVER (well, after practicing in class for several weeks) ...in front of an audience, their parents and the staff. It was the BEST thing. Seriously, I had tears in my eyes just watching them. I think we need to do one EVERY month ... I have SO MANY cute, talented kids!
(PS: attached here below is a "real" review of the movie. It's coming to Hong Kong in January 2012. I don't know about release dates for other countries. But keep your eyes open.)