Unsilenced is a powerful film that tells the true story of persecution and political oppression in China. The drama, directed by Leon Lee, has earned awards in two international film festivals and is gaining attention from public figures across the country.
The story follows four Chinese university students in 1999 as their lives are uprooted when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bans Falun Gong, a spiritual practice in which the students participate. As the party actively spreads lies about Falun Gong and its practitioners, the students fight to restore the reputation of their spiritual beliefs. Meanwhile, an American journalist, who covered Tiananmen Square, is finally allowed back into China–on the condition that he makes no more trouble. But when he crosses paths with the students, he can’t resist their intriguing story. Together, they are forced to choose between remaining silent or facing prison, torture, and death.
Overall, the film was very well done. The camera work was diverse, with a nice combination of still close-ups and choppy action shots, which flowed seamlessly together. The actors took their roles seriously and did an excellent job of exhibiting their (often strong) emotions. While the dialogue was largely spoken in Mandarin, the English subtitles did not detract from the plot and were easy to follow. Altogether, the masterful cinematography and gripping performance allowed the audience members to experience the movie as if they were living it themselves.
Unsilenced is not just a story about four students who were persecuted in 1999 – it is a story about the thousands of people who are still facing the horrors of the CCP today. It shines a light on the bravery of those risking their lives to speak out, and it gives voice to those currently being silenced.
Unsilenced is premiering in theaters across the country. You can find screening times and locations here.
Director: Leon Lee
Writers: Leon Lee, Jocelyn Tennant, Ty Chan
Runtime: 1 hr 48 min