From Producer Irv Drasnin
This film is about Sidney Rittenberg, and Mao Zedong, and Zhou Enlai, a formidable cast by any measure.
As such, it is a story that embraces some very large themes:
• about the Chinese revolution, including realities of which we may only be dimly aware, if at all;
• about American ideals, the impulse to fight against injustice, wherever we find it;
• and, in the most dramatic of ways, it is about the limits of the foreigner’s influence on events in distant lands whose history, politics and culture are very different from our own—themes and issues still very much with us, as important now as they were then.
And Sidney lived it, not just as an eyewitness but as a part of it.
When I was growing up my parents subscribed to Reader’s Digest which had a regular feature called The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met.
I ’ve met a lot of characters in my time but none more unforgettable than Sid. He‘s lived his life with the courage of his convictions—and more than that, with the courage to re-examine those convictions and to do so on camera.
And, one more thing: through four separate interviews and countless questions not once did he ask to see what we were doing or how the interviews might be used. Not only did he let us into his life, he gave us his trust—and honored the American principle of independent inquiry, and reporting.