CHINA / National

China to shoot movie on Nanjing Massacre
Updated: 2006-08-14 15:21

NANJING -- China has decided to team up with the United States and Britain on putting Iris Chang's international bestseller, "The Rape of Nanking", on the silver screen, sources with the Chinese investor in the movie revealed on Monday, on the eve of the 61st anniversary of Japan's surrender in the World War II.

"We hope we can make the film a classic on a massacre in the Second World War, just like the Shrindler's List about the miserable experience of Jewish people during the War,"said Gerald Green, the American producer of the movie.

Shrindler's List was an Oscar winner and regarded as an impressive artisitc film with a book-office success.

According to Dr. Li Xiangmin, chairman of the Chinese investor, Jiangsu Cultural Industry Group based in Nanjing, capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province, the film will take an estimated investment of more than 200 million yuan (US$25 million).

Under the accord signed by the Chinese company and a Hollywood entertainment firm, Viridian, the American investor will inject no less than US$20 million into the planned movie, the Chinese side will invest 50 million yuan (US$6.25 million), and the British side, two million U.S. dollars.

Dr. Li said that the movie had obtained shooting licenses in the United States and Britain and was waiting for go-ahead from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. Shooting will likely begin at the end of this year, Li added.

The movie will be completed before September 1, 2007 and make its debut in China before December 13, 2007 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. It will be put on the world market in the spring of 2008, said Dr. Li Xiangmin.

The Nanjing Massacre occurred in December 1937 when Japanese agressor troops occupied Nanjing, the then capital of China. Over 300,000 Chinese were killed, one third of the houses in the city were burned and more than 20,000 women were raped.

The movie will be based on "The Rape of Nanking-The Forgotten Holocaust of World World II" by the late American Chinese writer, Iris Chang. The book was the first, full-length English-language narrative of the atrocity to reach a wide audience. It remained on the New York Times bestseller list for several months, became a New York Times Notable Book, and was cited by Bookman Review Syndicate as one of the best books of 1997.

With the book as source materials, the movie will depict a story about a mother and a daugher in the Massacre.

Investors hope to invite Ziyi Zhang, a Chinese film star who has developed a world fame, to star the planned movie. Cast will hopefully also include Michelle Yeoh from Malaysia, who played a major role in the Oscar winner Crunching Tiger, Hidden dragon.

The screen play will be written by a famous American screenwriter William McDorald, who majored in international relationship at the Georgetown University and was good at study of world history.

With his father as a soldier in the Second World War, William McDorald had read a great amount of historical materials and datas and books, particularly that written by Iris Chang, on the Nanjing Massacre before he visited the Massacre museum in the city in March this year.

"The visit shocked me,"said McDorald.

He told Xinhua that he would merge into the impression from the visit into the movie to be shot and would take into account opinions and suggestions by some Chinese historians.

He said, "Shooting the movie aims to let more people know the history of the Nanjing Massacre."

Some Japanese textbooks falsifies this part of the history, and some rightists in Japan are trying hard to defy the fact.

McDorald said the movie would have scenes on manslaying contests among Japanese invaders in Nanjing. He hoped the film would be able to help more westerners know the truth through personal and family tragedies.

Having read the movie's scenario, Prof. Zhang Xianwen, a historian with the Nanjing University, said, "Using the artistic skills of Hollywood blockbusters, the movie will expose atrocities committed by the Japanese invaders in China and is expected to impress the world deeply."

"The movie will not only reproduce bloody scenes of the true history, but will also expound the understanding of peace based on humanity," said Meng Guoxiang, a researcher from the Jiangsu Academy of Social Sciences.

Quite a few of Japanese have contacted the Jiangsu Cultural Industry Group and made some suggestions for the movie. Some of them hope to participate in the shooting.

Chinese director, Luo Guanquan, who shot China's first film on the Nanjing Massacre in 1987, will serve as the art guide for the movie.