The Film

In the spring of 1989, students and workers gathered in mass protest in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and set in motion “the most watched but least understood story of the 20th century.”

The Gate of Heavenly Peace is a feature-length documentary about the 1989 protest movement, reflecting the drama, tension, humor, absurdity, heroism, and many tragedies of the six weeks from April to June in 1989. The film reveals how the hard-liners within the government marginalized moderates among the protesters (including students, workers, and intellectuals), while the actions of radical protesters undermined moderates in the government. Moderate voices were gradually cowed and then silenced by extremism and emotionalism on both sides.

It is a sobering tale, for faced with the binary opposition between Communists and anti-Communists, there has been little middle ground left for the rational and thoughtful proponents of positive reform in China. By giving these ignored voices their proper place in history, The Gate of Heavenly Peace reveals an ongoing debate in China concerning the importance of personal responsibility and moral integrity, the need, as Vaclav Havel has put it, to “live in the truth.”

The Filmmakers

  1. Carma HintonCo-Producer
  2. Richard GordonProducer

Richard Gordon and Carma Hinton, have made 13 films about China, including The Gate of Heavenly Peace, Morning Sun, and the acclaimed trilogy One Village in China, which was broadcast nationally in the U.S. and abroad (including the BBC, France’s Canal Plus, and Germany’s ARD). The series received more than 20 awards at international film festivals, including a George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award.