The Exiles (2022)

The Exiles (2022)

Memories of the Tiananmen Square massacre from several exiled survivors, told through outspoken Chinese filmmaker Christine Choy

7.1

Movie

China, France
English, Mandarin
Documentary, History
2022
BEN KLEIN, FEMALE DIRECTOR
Christine Choy
96 min

What it's about

Brash and opinionated, Christine Choy is a documentarian, cinematographer, professor, and quintessential New Yorker whose films and teaching have influenced a generation of artists. In 1989 she started to film the leaders of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests who escaped to political exile following the June 4 massacre. Though Choy never finished that project, she now travels with the old footage to Taiwan, Maryland, and Paris in order to share it with the dissidents who have never been able to return home.

The take

Through her irreverent, no-bullshit point of view, Chinese documentarian Christine Choy balances out The Exiles' painful reckoning with a traumatic event that shaped a generation of Chinese immigrants: the student-led protests and subsequent massacre of civilians in Tiananmen Square, Beijing in 1989. As Choy reconnects with the subjects of a documentary she stopped making 30 years ago, they help provide a fitting conclusion and new insights into the aftermath of the incident. And while the film eventually loses Choy's brash spirit and settles into a more conventional tone of storytelling, the testimonies and analyses of nation and home that we get to hear are still heartbreaking. After such a reprehensible violation of human rights, it becomes clear that the countries who refuse to condemn wrongdoing are just as guilty.

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