A legend in a courtroom 60 years ago;
The birth of a miracle;
A piece of misery, endured together by China and Japan…
These are the words of the trailer for the movie Judgment In Tokyo. The documentary-style film is China produced and tells the story of 28 top Japanese war criminals being tried at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East from 1946 to 1948.
With a reportedly low budget, director Gao Qunshu nevertheless managed to gather a star-studded cast for his movie. Hong Kong veterans Kenneth Tsang and Damian Lau play a Chinese prosecutor and judge respectively. Mainland comedy star Ying Da and Taiwan heartthrob Zhu Xiaotian are amongst the leads. The film also attracted leading US and Japanese actors. 80% of the dialogue is in English and Japanese, adding to the international flavour of the film.
Damian Lau, known for depicting upright figures in many Hong Kong films, says he's honored to be playing the judge this time.
"I've been an actor for several decades. This is the first time that I've shot a film on such a heavy theme. And it's the first time that I've felt it really means a lot to be an actor. I'm happy that before my retirement, I can shoot a film that reflects a true part of history which I think the younger generation should know more about."
Rather than taking a violently condemnatory approach in revealing the war crimes of the invading Japanese troops, the film tries to extract individual stories from the historical dossier and depicting the pain that the war brings to ordinary people, both Chinese and Japanese.
Taiwan Heartthrob Zhu Xiaotian, who is also a member of the pop band F4, plays a journalist in the film. He says the goal of the film is not to condemn, but to understand.
"I think suffering in history should not become our burden, but provide hope for us to look forward. Although the theme of the movie is heavy, we hope to bring the audience something good. We hope you can enjoy it when you're sitting in the cinema."
Some Chinese media are calling the film a Chinese mainstream movie with a strong Hollywood touch.
The Shanghai Film Group recently acquired the distribution rights and will release the film in China on May 3rd, the 60th anniversary of the opening of the International Military Tribunal for Far East.