134 minutes| Germany/China/ France| 2009| Subtitled| Colour| Anamorphic| 35mm

Florian Gallenberger’s biopic about a reluctant German hero from World War II, John Rabe was the big winner at this year’s German Film Awards, picking up Lolas for Best Film and Best Actor amongst others. Rabe was manager of Siemens China when the Japanese attacked the then capital Nanjing in 1937. Appalled by events and driven by simple humanitarian concerns, Rabe helped create a safety zone that’s
said to have saved the lives of around 200,000 people.

Although the New York Times referred to him as ‘the Schindler of China’, Rabe was long forgotten before his diaries were rediscovered ten years ago. These remarkable documents form the basis of Gallenberger’s film, bringing a degree of authenticity to what is ostensibly a melodramatic war epic. The film’s other trump card is Ulrich Tukur’s thoughtful performance as Rabe, which is ably supported by star turns from Daniel Bruhl and Steve Buscemi.

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