The Gate of Heavenly Peace was a very long film. I have to say this first because I honestly was disapointed when the second tape had to be put in.
Although it was very long, I found no trouble being engaged by it. The interviews of actual participants were very moving. I especially enjoyed hearing different perspectives from teachers, students, workers, and pop artists (all involved in the movement in some way). Above all else – I felt that this documentary really confirmed that my limited knowledge of Chinese government action and history of China has been well guided – censorship, corruption, and unwillingness to allow its people to form their own opinions are just a few negative aspects that can be taken from this film. I am also reminded that history can be changed by those currently in power… this incident is not recorded as it was to the students – it is how the party wants it to be remembered. Everyone else is punished to think or say differently.
One aspect that I found particularly interesting was the involvment of musicians. My own research has led me to believe that music (Hip Hop specifically related to the 2000s) does have a profound effect on people. Music represents freedom of expression and allows individualism. I felt that this point was made in this film as well, and I like that Pop artists could serve this purpose. Today, from my hip hop resources, it seems that most pop artists are conforming and self-censoring to be compatible with government ideals – and not to be restricted by the government. I had read about Rock performers being influential and standing up to the government – but that is not all that surprising given the history of Rock and Roll. Rebellion and teenage angst is something that comes to mind. Hip hop to me also represents a sense of rebellion and individuality – fighting against the odds. Pop on the other hand doesn’t tend to (stereotypically at least in my own mind) fight the power and break the rules. I enjoyed learning about an exception to this preconceived notion I had.