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Still The Exiles

IDFA at Home: The Exiles

Ben Klein & Violet Columbus / US, TW, FR, CN, 2021 / 96 min.

From November 10 to 20, every day between 18:00 and 23:00, you can watch a film from IDFA's Best of the Fest or Masters programme online in our virtual cinema. You buy your ticket as usual, the PDF ticket you receive contains the link to the online cinema. Tonight, 10 November: The Exiles.

poster IDFA 2022

In 1989, the Chinese regime ruthlessly crushed a peaceful student protest on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. This film’s subject, Christine Choy—a colorful Chinese-Korean activist who admits to being “a loudmouth”—has lived in the US since she was a teenager, and in that period began work on a documentary about three Chinese people involved in the protests who had fled to the US.

She conducted interviews with a student leader, an academic, and a businessman who supported the protest, but she never finished the film. Now, 30 years later, she revisits the interviewees. The difference between then and now is dramatic. In 1989, these men—still boys, really—were fired up with idealism and fully expecting that China would soon democratize. But things didn’t turn out that way. They have never been able to return to see their families in China, and the repression has only intensified. But they are also deeply disappointed in the West, where trade with China is seen as more important than human rights.

In a reference to the courageous young Chinese man who stood in front of a tank in 1989, the former student leader says the choice is simple: “You either stand with the tank man or you stand with the tank.”

Between 18:00 and 23:00, you can start the film whenever it suits you, the film is then available for 4 hours. For example, if you start the film at 22:59, you can watch until 02:59.

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Ben Klein & Violet Columbus

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96 min.



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IDFA 2022

Documentary lovers, keep 9 through 20 November free in your calendar. The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam presents its 35th edition in cinemas throughout Amsterdam, including several special programmes in Eye.

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