Shu Kei's documentary takes as its starting point the fact of the Tiananmen Square massacre; then, just when you expect the film to start the usual trawl through personal testimonies and political protests, it takes off in a different direction entirely. The director's first person narration (spoken in English) explains: Shu Kei wanted to express his feelings of outrage and helplessness, but didn't want to make another journalistic documentary like the ones shown on TV every night that summer. so he turned to his family and friends for their thoughts, embarking on a journey that took him to Australia and Canada, London and Venice, tracing the ways in which the Beijing crackdown affected all who think of themselves as Chinese. It's a Chinese tradition to keep intimate family matters to yourself; when Shu Kei discusses his brother's decision to emigrate and his own quandary over the future of his mother, his words have the force of a full-scale transgression. The willingness to confront personal feelings with great honesty makes the film exceptionally moving, and takes it into the area previously associated with mavericks like Chris Marker, far above the grind of mere reportage.
Cast and crew