Vanessa Hope's film "All Eyes and Ears" brings all the different dimensions of America's contentious relationship with China together in one film. The students in my course on Chinese politics at Berkeley found it a fascinating complement to their academic readings. Students were thrilled to have Ms. Hope visit our class to answer questions about the film and talk about some of her harrowing experiences operating as an independent filmmaker in China, calling it "exciting" and "one of the most memorable times I have had at Berkeley.
The period 2009 to 2011 can now be seen as the twilight of one era and the dawn of another. But across the end of President Hu's term in office and the start of President Xi's there are some issues that stay the same: the primacy of the relationship for China with the US, and that relationship's many sticking points. This fascinating film, born from excellent access to Ambassador John Huntsman during his time in China, shows on a very personal level how someone at the heart of the relationship over this period navigated the various perilous shoals and rocks in the relationship, and how they maintained a positive, optimistic outlook. Anyone interested in the most important relationship in the world today should see this charming, engaging documentary.