“This wrenching look at the Japanese occupation of Nanking in 1937 establishes Lu as a world-class filmmaker—and one who perhaps bridges the gap between China’s Fifth and Sixth generations, fusing the rigor and commitment to harsh reality of the latter with the commercial tendencies of the former, but without selling out. With regular shifts to include somewhat sympathetic Japanese points of view, the film is loosely structured in three parts. In the truly harrowing third section, the Japanese army’s enforced recruitment of ‘comfort women’ from among the enclave’s female populace—and their subsequent abuse—is shown with an unflinching eye.”

—Gavin Smith, Film Comment November/December 2009