What happened in Tiananmen Square in the spring of 1989? Why did the university students decide to protest? What and who were they protesting against? Why did the government allow them to occupy the centre of Beijing for almost two months? How much responsibility did the government have in the repression? What role did the army play? Were the Communist Party’s senior officials for or against the students’ demands? Why were the 10,000 deaths reported by an American news channel considered correct for so many years? What have we learned from Tiananmen?
These are some of the questions Tiananmen seeks to answer, an ambitious documentary created by the El Far Blau Production Company and simultaneously broadcast on all television stations comprising Catalonia’s Local Television Network on September 21, 2009 and January 6, 2010. Tiananmen also featured the participation and co-production of Canal Blau Informació (Icvsam) and a sizeable crew on location in Barcelona, Madrid and Beijing (China), where the interviews which form the backbone of this journalistic and historical documentary were filmed.
The documentary and protagonists
The protagonists of the documentary entitled Tiananmen consist of the different characters who, for professional reasons and/or happenstance, witnessed the Chinese students’ revolt in 1989. Prominent contributions came from Eugeni Bregolat (Spanish ambassador in Beijing 1987-1991), Joaquín Luna (La Vanguardia’s China correspondent 1987-1993), Joan Deltell (cultural promoter), Laura Cabarrocas (businessperson), Georgina Higueras (journalist and expert on Asia), Alfonso García de Paadín (military attaché at the Spanish embassy in Beijing between 1985 and 1989), Bao Tong (ex-political secretary of the official Zhao Ziyang) and Liu Xiaobo (Chinese writer and dissident). All help afford a clearer understanding of the events which unfolded in Beijing in 1989, and, while their viewpoint is decidedly Western, all possess intimate knowledge of the cultural, social and political reality of the Asian continent and, specifically, China.
Tiananmen is an entertaining, fast-paced documentary, rigorous in form and content, informational and apt for all audiences, for anyone interested in current events, history, international politics and journalism wielded with rigour and a critical eye.
Direction and script: Bernat Deltell
Interviews: Jordi Castañeda, Bernat Deltell and Sergi Vicente
Director of photography: Carles Castro
Production: Aïda Ventura
Edition: Olga de Aizpurua and Jordi Escofet
Camera operators: Carles Castro, Jordi Escofet and Sergi Vicente
Camera assistants: Xavier Arcas and Roger Vicente
Design: Àlex Soteres
Opening/closing sequence, credits, background and effects: Artrivity disseny
Translation: Pau Artús, Irene Masdeu and Sergi Vicente
Narrators: Níria Casanova, Jordi CastaÃ±eda and Carles Garcia Guinda
Technical support in China: Sergi Vicente