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Children of the Silk Road (2007)

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clip Hogg sees a massacre

Original classification rating: M. This clip chosen to be M

Clip description

George Hogg (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is typing in a war-torn building. Just as he writes ‘The city is quiet’ he hears activity in the street. He goes to the window and sees Japanese troops herding Chinese civilians into a park then firing on the large unarmed group. He has to fight back his terror and force himself to record it with his camera.

That night, while the bodies are burning, he stumbles into the path of Japanese troops. He immediately surrenders. The next morning, during an interview, he tries to bluff his way out with charm. The atmosphere shifts dramatically when his revealing photographs are developed.

Curator’s notes

Unspeakable things happen in any war zone but the filmmakers give more attention to the results of the conflict – the trauma of the orphaned boys, the displacement of thousands of people, and so on – than to the violence as it takes place. One exception is this sequence, although Hogg’s stills are used to supplement the live action, and the camera lingers on the death of one man to represent the group.

The event Hogg witnesses is based on a real-life massacre that continued for weeks and was referred to as the Rape of Nanking because of the large number of women who were raped. This is not alluded to here, however. Many films tell stories of war correspondents becoming advocates for the side perceived to be in the right. This is one such film and this sequence shows the beginning of Hogg’s transformation from a dispassionate reporter to a sympathiser.

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australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

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