‘The Exiles’ | Sundance 2022 Review

Directed By:

Ben Klein, Violet Columbus



Across the world, people know of the horrifying events at Tiananmen Square. The massacre that happened in 1989 has been all but shut off from China. It’s rarely spoken about out loud, and the younger generations may not even be aware of it at all. This documentary directed by Ben Klein and Violet Columbus attempts to explore what happened that day, how China reacts to this day regarding it, and where the remaining students are that surviving the attack on China’s own citizens.

This is certainly not an easy watch. We learn about the people who fled the country, moved to various places around the world to avoid death, and the regret they have or may not have about leaving their loved ones, essentially knowing they can never return. There is footage of the event that I’ve never seen that really put what happened into perspective unlike anything before. We know the iconic footage of the one student standing against the fleet of tanks, but we don’t know the struggles of the surviving students until now.

We take much for granted in the U.S. Freedom of speech is something that has been used for and against people as of late, and ‘The Exiles’ reminds us why the conversation is so important. I hope Chinese citizens get to see this film. To learn more about what happened and for the hope that these freedom-fighting students can return home to their families.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

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