Touching tale of human courage and sacrifice

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 12:00am

May And August looks at the evils of the 1937 Nanjing massacre through the eyes of children. Those who are expecting an epic historical drama or a violent war film should look elsewhere.

Directed by Raymond To Kwok-wai, May And August has a strong human focus and a classic melodramatic structure. It centres around the survival of nine-year-old May and five-year-old August, whose parents sacrificed themselves to protect their children's lives.

Although it seems a familiar story, the growing strength of the two girls makes it a forceful drama. It is a condemnation of war wrapped in a tale of human courage and sacrifice. The last scene is especially touching, when all the orphans bid farewell to their dead parents on the banks of the Yangtze River, crying 'Mama, I love you'.

The film, at 88 minutes, is not as heavy as your history books, but it certainly gives you the urge to explore the Sino-Japanese war more deeply.

While it's still fresh in your mind, talk to your grandparents about their own version of history.