U.S. President Richard Nixon called his 1972 visit to China "the week that changed the world." But it was the secret trip taken by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger the year before that laid the foundation of the historic meeting that would see China and the United States begin to normalize bilateral relations.
This was the height of the Cold War, with relations fractured between the Soviet Union and China, Nixon -- an unlikely ally to China -- conceived of an idea of Sino-American partnership to challenge the century’s Cold-War status quo. Under the request of Nixon, Kissinger embarked on a journey to be the first U.S. official to set foot in the Middle Kingdom.
"The importance of the relationship between our two countries remains crucial. And, in fact, it's more important even than in 1971," Kissinger said in an interview in the documentary.
Offering unique interviews with Kissinger (now 100 years old), his staff members, and members of the Chinese delegation, The Handshake offers an unprecedented look at the secret talks, and the monumental historical events which they set underway. Utilizing a combination of archival materials, original interviews, and contemporary stories of the modern outcomes of these historic events, the film offers a unique look at the hidden events that took place during the critical 48 hours that defined our current global order.