In 1937 China, an American mortician (Christian Bale) come to Nanking to deal with a monk's burial finds himself trapped by the Japanese occupation of the city. He poses as a priest in a bid to save his own skin, but when a flock of shell-shocked schoolchildren and a dozen seductive courtesans each seek the sanctuary of the church against the coming massacre, the faux father is faced with terrible choices. Trapped by marauding soldiers, over the next few days the prejudices and divides between them will fall away as they unite around a last-ditch plan to protect the children from impending catastrophe. Director Zhang Yimou's affecting historical drama was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Foreign Language Film.
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