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A Film directed by Lu Chuan - 2009

The Rape Of Nanking (now Nanjing) was an atrocity of the first order. Simply put, it was Genocide. And under Chuan's insightful directing, his film was more: It reveals the paper-thin barrier between the tender and savage parts of most of us. At the time, 1937, and especially once WWII began, we Americans simply demonized the Japanese as being mere animals.

Chuan deserves great credit for his ability to understand and depict humanity as it really is. Even the rare exceptional individual, as noted by Milgram, was present in the body of Sargent Kadokawa who was so filled with revulsion by what his countrymen were doing that he blew his own brains out.

After six weeks of killing and raping, depending on the source, some 50,000 to 300,000 Chinese lay dead, including women and children. This was inconsistent with prior Japanese history. As a people, they enjoyed a high degree of personal safety; as warriors, they were disciplined and exemplary soldiers. In China, all that broke down. Underfed and mistreated by their own officers, their historic discipline disintegrated.

Alone among filmmakers and authors alike, Chuan sees through the superficial fabric and reveals humanity for what it really is: A species at war with itself. Our jungle and savannah heritage simply did not prepare us for civilized behavior. As Milgram and Zimbardo so ably proved and foretold events to come, our dominant and obedient tendencies are at eternal war with our parenting and altruistic selves--while our genes for cooperation aid and abet each side in the internal conflict most of us experience whether consciously or not.

When that inner conflict is recognized and dealt with species-wide, peace on earth can become reality. For more on the Nanking genocide see: Lu Chuan Talks About Nanking, or Daily Motion, and also the 13 October 2011 issue of the New York Review, page 27.


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