Documentary "Better Angels" highlights people-to-people bonds between China, U.S.

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-25 19:11:46|Editor: mym
Video PlayerClose

BEIJING, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- "Better Angels," a documentary produced by American and Chinese filmmakers highlighting the connections between ordinary citizens of the two countries, will hit Chinese screens starting January 2019.

The documentary, directed by Oscar-winning director Malcolm Clarke, is expected to be screened on about 2,000 screens across China, according to Shanghai-based ARTeFact Entertainment, which produced the film, at the premiere held in Beijing Saturday.

Filmed over five years, "Better Angels" features stories of several Chinese and American individuals who it called "accidental diplomats." For instance, a former U.S. marine from Texas who taught Chinese children English and American football in Shanghai, and a Chinese teacher who helps American children learn math using an abacus.

The stories of ordinary people are interwoven with interviews from political, business and academic heavyweights, such as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, which gave the audience a glimpse of the big picture of bilateral ties.

"I hope the film will shatter the myths that Americans hold about China and Chinese hold about America," said William Mundell, one of the documentary's producers, at the premiere.

Through the documentary, Mundell said he hoped the Chinese audience will see that an open-minded and welcoming America still exists and the American audience sees that China has many similarities with America's 'frontier' past.

The name "Better Angels" was borrowed from an expression first used by former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln to refer to the good side of human nature.

"When I interviewed Henry Kissinger in New York, he applied the term to China and America. If we appeal to the better part of our nature, perhaps we can avoid conflicts," said Clarke, at the premiere. "We thought it was the perfect title for the film."

The 92-minute film was cut from more than 800 hours of footage, shot not only on the two sides of the Pacific but faraway continents such as Africa as well.

For Han Yi, its Chinese producer, the challenge was to find stories that entertain and move audiences when talking about the abstract topic of China-U.S. relations.

"If you can affect people emotionally, not intellectually, they will remember things for a very long time. That is what we tried to do with this film," Clarke said.

The documentary was put in a limited release this month in the United States, and a broader release is planned for January.

January 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-U.S. diplomatic relations.