The 57th Annual San Sebastian International Film Festival closed on the 26th. The Chinese director Lu Chuan directed war film about the Nanjing Massacre, CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH, won the film festival's highest honor Golden Shell For Best Film. It also won the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography.
This was the first film by a Chinese director to win the highest honor. Earlier, Zhang Yan with SHOWER and SUNFLOWER, Chen Kaige with TOGETHER, Xu Jinglei with LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN all won the Best Director prize at the film festival previously. CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH cost 80 million yuan RMB and took four years to complete. With black and white visuals it brought back the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanjing and the subsequent massacre of prisoners of war and innocent civilians. The film's main plots are the Chinese people's resistance will and an ordinary Japanese soldier's spiritual struggle. From a new vision it displays the human defense of the dignity of life and redemption of belief.
Due to its documentary style production, the film's battle scenes, architecture, costumes, sound effects and others provided a strong sense of shock and realism. The film festival jury said that CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH took the format of China and Japan view change, from the details it returned to the daily life of Nanjing at war and showed humanity's instinct to survive and various struggle amid patriotism. CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH cinematographer Cao Yu also won the film festival cinematography prize.
The film's actor Fan Wei was working on a film in Haiban when director Lu Chuan called him with the good news at 2:30AM. Fan Wei sent a text message to the director, "Bullish! Emotional! Excited! Well done!" Another actor Jiang Yiyan also said, "Actually over these few months, Lu Chuan withstood great stress from everywhere. At one point he was depressed and passed through a dark period. Our hearts as actors ached for him. The film's prize is great news!"