Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, September 14:
LETTER FROM MASANJIA
Hot Docs 2018
NYC Asian American, DOXA, Bergen, Calgary, Lunenberg, Newburyport, Chagrin Doc, United Nations Association
A Chinese dissident prisoner makes a desperate attempt to reveal his plight to the outside world.
While unpacking Halloween decorations, a woman in Oregon discovered letters from an anonymous Chinese author recounting human rights violations at the forced labor camp which produced the goods. When human rights groups proved unresponsive, she contacted the media, and the story went viral. Lee’s film investigates further, discovering the identity of the letter writer, a Falun Gong practitioner, Sun Yi, to tell his story of persecution, and to expose efforts to reform the labor camp system. While Lee wisely makes use of Yi’s cartooning skills to bring a critical, creative visual element to the film, as a whole the proceedings feel overlong and often sentimental, hampered further by a plodding score, undercutting the essential and worthwhile aspects Yi’s ultimately tragic story.