1/22/2017 8:46:36 PM
Subject: Film Review - "The Gate of Heavenly Peace"
Ironically, the film, documentary really, is called "The Gate of Heavenly Peace", and it is anything but that. A[font=Roboto, arial, sans-serif] 1995 documentary film, produced by Richard Gordon and Carma Hinton, the documentary f[/font]ocuses on student led protests, particularly, the Protests in early June, 1989, the film has a tendency to be a little graphic. Documenting Tiananamen Square as the center of student protests, beginning with the May 4th Movement of 1919, the Square, once a field with waist high weeds, has come to be the center of student-led protests.
There are interviews, actual footage from the days leading up to June 5, and the infamous footage of "Tank Man" himself. There is also, however, footage of wounded students - blood, bandages, and all. Because the documentary is about 3 hours long (yikes!) I definitely would not try to sit and watch the entire thing in one sitting, partly because some of what seem to be the most important parts, interviews and the like, are not translated, making it very difficult to fit together the pieces of the puzzle.
One suggestion, because there is so much in the documentary that teachers can focus on, would be to only show selected parts, and show those parts as they relate to various literary works. The book Animal Farm comes to mind when the film discusses how Chairman Mao came to power. The very thing that he strived to fight against, was what he became. Some referred to him as being emperor- or god-like. In addition, Teachers could also juxtapose these student led protests to those in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement and the Freedom Rides, or even the protests regarding the Vietnam War.
There are several versions of the film available on YouTube, however the one with the most translated into English has been divided into two different parts. The links are as follows:
Part 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Gtt2JxmQtg
Part 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0lgc4fWkWI