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who killed vincent chin?

1987  |  16mm film  |  color  |  87 min
Christine Choy, Renee Tajima-Pena
Renee Tajima-Peña, Christine Choy, Nancy Tong, Film News Now Foundation
Holly Fisher
Kyle Kibbe
Lucia Hwong

synopsis

On a hot summer night in Detroit, Ronald Ebens, an autoworker, killed a young Chinese-American engineer with a baseball bat. Although he confessed, he never spent a day in jail. This gripping Academy Award-nominated film relentlessly probes the implications of the murder in the streets of Detroit, for the families of those involved, and for the American justice system.

Not so much a documentary murder investigation as a meticulously constructed meditation on the race relations, economic forces, and failings of the American legal system that comprised the backdrop for the murder of a Chinese-American automotive engineer in Detroit in 1982, Christine Choy’s Who Killed Vincent Chin? remains a stirring, absorbing elegy for justice unserved. Drawing from interviews with Chin’s family and friends and Chin’s killer, automotive assembly-line worker Ron Ebens, along with a wealth of archival footage, Who Killed Vincent Chin? paints a complex and tragically relevant portrait of an America roiled by socioeconomic unease, the crisis of the automotive industry (Ebens wrongly believed Chin to be Japanese during their terrible encounter), and the prevalence of xenophobia. A Janus Films release. Restored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive and The Film Foundation, in association with the Museum of Chinese in America. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, with additional support provided by Todd Phillips

awards/events

DuPont-Columbia – Silver Baton (1991)
Hawaii International Film Festival – Best Documentary Award (1988)
Academy Awards – Best Documentary Feature Nominee (1989)




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