Film Image
The Chinatown Files
2001
Color
57 minutes
US
English
The Chinatown Files
This documentary brings to the public, for the first time, a story that was classified as secret by the US government for over four decades. Exploring the roots and legacy of the Cold War on the Chinese American community during the 1950s and the 1960s, it presents first hand accounts of seven men and women's experiences of being hunted down, jailed and targeted for deportation in America. During McCarthy era witch-hunts, the loyalties of over ten thousand American citizens of Chinese descent were questioned based on their ethnicity and alleged risk to national security. While China remains an enigma to most Americans, the prejudice and jingoism that has negatively affected the lives of Chinese Americans has rarely been examined. THE CHINATOWN FILES is a cautionary tale of paranoia and hysteria that serves as a dramatic and enduring reminder of the fragility of constitutional protections today.
Third World Newsreel is pleased to re-release Amy Chen's essential documentary THE CHINATOWN FILES. Contact twn@twn.org for infomration about special screenings and speaking engagements with Amy Chen.
Reviews
“The 1950s and 1960s were an ugly time for thousands of Chinese Americans, clustered in Chinatowns across the country, who became the target of anti- communist fervor ignited by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and aimed at the Soviet Union and China. New York documentary filmmaker Amy Chen brings this era to life in "The Chinatown Files." - Ryan Kim, San Francisco Chronicle
“The Chinatown Files… shows yellow-baiting is far from fresh. From animated cartoons to newspaper headlines, popular messages dubbed anyone who looked or sounded Chinese an oddity at best, at worst a threat. With testimony from the FBI, historians, and victims, the film recounts how thousands of Chinese Americans across the country—many of them U.S. citizens—were systematically spied on, interrogated, jailed, and often deported by government agencies, all in the name of national security and democracy.” - Chisun Lee, The Village Voice
“In Amy Chen's revelatory documentary, "The Chinatown Files," some Chinese Americans tell of enduring endless harassment at the hands of government officials during the McCarthy-Cold War period. It's a part of both American and Chinese-American history that would have remained forgotten had Chen not felt spurred to tell this story, one that has been treated with 50 years of Silence.” Honolulu Star-Bulletin“In Amy Chen's revelatory documentary, "The Chinatown Files," some Chinese Americans tell of enduring endless harassment at the hands of government officials during the McCarthy-Cold War period. It's a part of both American and Chinese-American history that would have remained forgotten had Chen not felt spurred to tell this story, one that has been treated with 50 years of Silence.” - Honolulu Star-Bulletin
“Truth may be the first casualty of war, but justice and perspective were additional casualties of the cold war, as evidenced by The Chinatown Files (56 min.), Amy Chen’s riveting film about the hysteria surrounding Chinese-Americans during and just after the McCarthy era.” - Chicago Reader
“Highly Recommended… It provides an appropriate background to the McCarthy era attacks on Chinese Americans, and examines the context for racism against the Chinese at the time.” - Terry Plum, Educational Media Reviews Online
“Amy Chen's documentary is the first to explore Chinese-American experience during the "climate of fear" that McCarthyism produced, reminding viewers of the tenuous nature of civil rights.” - VRT Notable Videos Committee, American Library Association
“Amy Chen’s documentary, The Chinatown Files, helped to illustrate the lingering bitterness, guilt, and sadness that resulted from the Confession Program." - Lisa See, Shanghai Girls
"A compelling consciousness-raiser of trenchant artistry, Amy Chen's 'The Chinatown Files' is a superb documentary, a triumph of organization, research and clarity that reveals the horrific impact of the McCarthy era upon the Chinese American community." - Kevin Thomas, LA Times
Awards

• Notable Videos for Adults, ALA 2002
• Henry Hampton Award, Council on Foundations, 2002
Screenings
• San Francisco Asian American International Film Festival (March 2001)
• Asian American International Film Festival (New York, July 2001)
• Hawaii International Film Festival (November 2001)
• Women in the Director's Chair, 2001
• Museum of Modern Art, New Documentary Series, 2001
Pricing & Ordering
Buyer Type Format Sale Type Price
Higher Education Institutions DVD Rental $300.00
Higher Education Institutions DVD Sale $300.00
K-12 & Public Libraries DVD Sale $80.00
Non-Theatrical/Educational Blu-Ray Rental $300.00
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