×

Hong Kong Political Movement to be Recognized by Rotterdam Film Festival

The International Film Festival Rotterdam is to be the first major cultural event to react to the ongoing Hong Kong political protests. It will put on a program showcasing recent films that chronicle the city’s biggest social upheaval.

Ordinary Heroes: Made in Hong Kong will showcase 24 features, documentaries and short films. These include the world premiere of James Leong and Lynn Lee’s “If We Burn,” a documentary feature on the seven-month long protests that were sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill in June 2019. Alan Lau’s feature-length film debut “The Cube Phantom,” an experimental dance film about Hong Kong people’s struggle for freedom and democracy, is another highlight.

The section also features international premiere of “Memories to Choke On, Drinks to Wash Them Down,” a collection of shorts about Hong Kong life by Leung Ming-kai and Kate Reilly, and Evans Chan’s “We Have Boots”, said to be a follow-up of his “Raise the Umbrella” documentary on Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy movement.

Ten new works are featured in the shorts section. These include Black Blorchestra’s music video of “Glory to Hong Kong,” the protest theme song that quickly became the city’s unofficial anthem written by an anonymous composer with lyrics crowdsourced from netizens.

Popular on Variety

Over seven months the protests have morphed into a large-scale movement demanding political freedom and universal suffrage, which are promised in the Basic Law, the mini-constitution of Hong Kong drafted when the city was handed over from Britain to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. Millions of people have taken to the streets peacefully but other events also ended up with violence involving both police and protesters.

The Rotterdam program, part of the festival’s Perspective section, was curated by critic Shelly Kraicer. It also includes a range of archival films that aim to contextualise the latest works, such as Fruit Chan’s 1997 “Made in Hong Kong,” Ann Hui’s 1999 “Ordinary Heroes,” “The Delinquent” by Kuei Chih-hung in 1997, and “Long Arm of the Law” by Johnny Mak in 1984.

Films inspired by the 2014 Umbrella Movement including dystopian shorts ensemble “Ten Years,” documentaries “Yellowing” by Chan Tze-woon, and “Lost in the Fumes” by Nora Lam, are also included.

More Film

  • Alison Brie - Variety's Actors on

    Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza Join Kristen Stewart's Romantic Comedy 'Happiest Season'

    Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Victor Garber, Dan Levy and Mary Steenburgen have been cast in “Happiest Season,” a romantic comedy starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis. The TriStar Pictures film, from director Clea DuVall, will debut in theaters on Nov. 20. “Happiest Season” follows Stewart’s character, who is planning to propose to her girlfriend (Davis) [...]

  • Taylor Swift Trailer Miss Americana Netflix

    Taylor Swift Gets Political in 'Miss Americana' Documentary Trailer

    “I feel really really good about not being muzzled anymore, and it was my own doing,” Taylor Swift reveals in the first trailer for her Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana.” The singer and songwriter gets candid in behind-the-scenes footage, saying, “Throughout my whole career label executives would just say: ‘A nice girl doesn’t force their opinions [...]

  • Quentin Tarantino, Walter Hill and Heywood

    Quentin Tarantino Celebrates Art of Screenwriting at Final Draft Awards

    Quentin Tarantino celebrated the art of screenwriting during his induction into the Final Draft Hall of Fame Tuesday night at the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood. The clearly delighted Tarantino, who scored Oscar nominations for writing, directing and producing “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” revealed filmmaker Walter Hill was his inspiration to become a screenwriter. [...]

  • The Gentleman Bad Boys for Life

    Box Office: 'The Gentlemen' Takes on 'Bad Boys for Life'

    It will be a battle of the boys at the box office this weekend as STX’s action drama “The Gentlemen” takes on reigning champs, Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life.” “Bad Boys for Life,” the third installment in the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence-led franchise, beat expectations over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, bringing in [...]

  • Ben Roberts BFI

    British Film Institute Says Change 'Too Slow' As It Releases Findings of Diversity Report

    The British Film Institute (BFI) has published its initial findings on how film productions in the U.K. have applied its “Diversity Standards,” a framework introduced in 2016 to address underrepresentation in the country’s film and TV industries. The standards cover several aspects of diversity including gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, age [...]

  • Brand Storytelling 2020 Sundance

    Sundance 2020: Brand Storytelling Lineup Set for 5th Annual Media and Marketing Event

    Brand Storytelling is returning to Park City this year to host its fifth annual media and marketing event at the Sundance Film Festival, with a lineup of keynotes, panels, screenings, music performances and more. Launched in 2016, the company’s “festival within a festival” at Sundance will again bring together execs from major brands with media [...]

  • Terry Jones Dead: Director of Monty

    Terry Jones, Monty Python Co-Founder, Dies at 77

    Terry Jones, co-founder of Monty Python, died Wednesday after a long struggle with dementia. He was 77. Jones was instrumental in creating the wacky, absurdist style of comedy that Monty Python made famous in the 1970s and directed two of the English comedy group’s most successful films, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “Monty [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content