A timely exploration into the complex links between the U.S. and China, Vanessa Hope’s documentary feature debut evokes the personal and the international with its accent on diplomacy, activism and individual experience. Interspersed with remarks from journalists and experts, ALL EYES AND EARS interweaves the stories of U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, his adopted Chinese daughter, Gracie Mei, and blind legal advocate Chen Guangcheng as they find purpose, identity and resolve amid the two nations’ evolving relationship.
The film follows Huntsman and his family during his tenure as ambassador. As he contends with achieving diplomatic goals in balance with the two countries’ interests in national security and economic growth, teenager Gracie gathers a more intimate understanding of her own cross-cultural identity. Meanwhile, Hope traces Chen Guangcheng’s journey — from being under house arrest to his highly publicized asylum at the U.S. Embassy — highlighting the activist’s thoughts on China’s ambitions as an emergent world power. ALL EYES AND EARS adroitly illuminates the delicate, intersecting layers of history, ideology and politics at play behind current diplomatic maneuvers.