Free Chol Soo Lee
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Racism towards the Asian community in the US is seen through the prism of a notorious 1970s murder case in this riveting documentary.
In 1973, Chol Soo Lee, a resident of San Francisco, was picked up by police on suspicion of the murder of Yip Yee Tak, a youth advisor for the local Wah Ching gang. The efficiency of the investigation and Chol Soo’s treatment by the police was immediately questioned, with his case gradually becoming a prime example of how American Asians are treated by mainly white authorities across the US.
Julie Ha and Eugene Yi’s excoriating film details the case, the growing movement to free Chol Soo over the course of the next decade and, in the film’s moving third act, how his life unravels once the spotlight has moved on. It celebrates the power of affirmative action in fighting his case after the justice system failed him, but in keeping the focus on Chol Soo rather than those who campaigned for him, the film also reveals the depth of trauma that years of systemic racism leave within an individual.