The exiled | Film threat

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SFFILM FESTIVAL 2022! If Violet Columbus and Ben Kleins They exiled demands something of its viewers, it is these two things: Never forget the protest and the massacre in Tiananmen Square and for God’s sake know who Christine Choy is. The documentary begins, as it ends, with the outspoken documentary filmmaker Christine Choy speaking to the camera. We learn about her early career and a random assignment that prompted her to interview the four leaders of the pro-democracy movement when they arrived in New York City after the aforementioned massacre.

After Choy’s success with his documentary Who killed Vincent Chin in Los Angeles, she was sent to New York to meet and interview the four Chinese men who organized protests in China and were then forced to flee the country in exile. She is half Chinese, half Korean, could speak Chinese, and soon she and her sound man stood face to face with the political refugees. Over the summer of 1989, she interviewed the four men.

It was a big deal, but then it disappeared, so nothing came out of the footage. Choy produced several documentaries, then moved to New York City and began teaching film production. But the footage and legacy of four men who risked their lives for their ideologies gnawed like unfinished ellipses. Oh, but do not be fooled. This is not the gloomy movie you think it is. They exiled is a fascinating reflection of the directions we choose to take in life.

“…Choy finds and connects with the men who all those years ago tried to change their world. “

One by one, Choy finds and connects with the men who all those years ago tried to change their world. First to Taiwan, then to Maryland and finally France. As she trots the globe around with her footage, Choy revives their memories in search of who these men are now. Even more gripping are the moments where Choy interviews his motives about how they view their past and whether it was a fight worth taking on. Their lives changed forever, they reflect on the courses they chose to take.

As China continues to erase the tumultuous chapter from its history, the world remembers it. When asked, Choy grinningly admits that she will probably never be allowed to return to China after the release of this film. The iconoclastic spots between cigarette butts and says, “When you do not have a past, how can you move on? You tell me.”

They exiled is as much a biopic about the uninhibited Christine Choy as it is a documentary about the four men in exile. Each subject worked passionately on something, only for it to disappear. Here we see how the years have sanded away the men’s burning passions to a melancholy reflection on a hopeful time. With Choy, though, she’s still very much the same, just a little more weathered. I hope she never changes.

They exiled shown at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and the 2022 SFFILM Festival.

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