Reading Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking is no picnic. The critically acclaimed late author and activist, who suffered a breakdown and died by her own hand, minced few words in her award-winning account of the rampaging Japanese occupation of Nanking, China, in 1937, which resulted in the barbaric murders of some 200,000 Chinese, as well as the rapes of thousands of women. But her straightforward words weren't lost on AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis, whose fascination for Chang's open-eyed historical chapter eventually led him to hire filmmakers Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman (Twin Towers) to make a film based on the book and, in particular, on the internal story of a small group of Westerners who worked to create a "Safety Zone" to protect the Chinese.
That film, Nanking, doesn't mince around, either. Using archival footage, interviews with survivors and testimony by Japanese troops, interspersed with dramatic readings by the likes of Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway and Rosalind Chao, the documentary, which opens today for a week-long run at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli, is a winning reminder of modern atrocities. Showtimes today are at 4:55, 7:15 and 9:10 p.m.; for a full schedule, call 303-820-3456 or go to www.denverfilm.org.
Feb. 22-28, 2008