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Leong and Lynn Lee’s “If We Burn,” a documentary feature on the seven-month long protests that were sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill in June 2019.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

  • Kevin Hart, Jason Statham Heading for

    Jason Statham and Kevin Hart Heading for 'The Man From Toronto' Comedy

    Jason Statham and Kevin Hart are in talks to star in action comedy “The Man From Toronto,” which Sony Pictures will release on Nov. 20. Patrick Hughes, who directed “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” and “The Expendables 3,” will direct”The Man From Toronto” from a script by Robbie Fox, from a story by Fox and Jason Blumenthal. [...]

  • High Fidelity

    What’s Coming to Hulu in February 2020

    Next month, Hulu will ring in Valentine’s Day with some counterprogramming. The streaming service will debut its original series “High Fidelity,” a gender-swapped reimagining of Nick Hornby’s novel of the same name. Previously, the book was adapted into a 2000 movie from Stephen Frears starring John Cusack. Zoë Kravitz stars as Rob Brooks, a music-obsessive [...]

  • Wes Anderson

    Wes Anderson's 'French Dispatch' Sets Summer Release

    Wes Anderson’s star-studded comedic drama “The French Dispatch” will debut in theaters on July 24, Searchlight Pictures announced Wednesday. “The French Dispatch” is set in Paris during the 1950s and follows a group of journalists at an American newspaper bureau. The ensemble cast includes Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux, Frances McDormand, [...]

  • Hillary Clinton Hulu Documentary

    Hillary Clinton Documentary Sells to Sky for U.K. Audiences (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Hillary,” a four-hour docuseries about the life and career of Hillary Clinton, has sold to Sky for U.K. distribution rights, Variety has learned. Clinton sat down for 35 hours of interviews with director Nanette Burstein (“On the Ropes”). The project premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to strong reviews, for offering an honest portrait [...]

  • Rhythm Section Movie

    Will Blake Lively's 'Rhythm Section' Fumble at the Box Office on Super Bowl Weekend?

    Ticket sales could grind to a halt over Super Bowl weekend, a notoriously quiet time of year at the box office. Two new movies are opening — Paramount’s spy thriller “The Rhythm Section” and Orion Pictures’ fantasy adventure “Gretel & Hansel” — though each is expected to make less than $10 million. Since the Super [...]

  • The Fight ACLU Documentary

    ACLU Sundance Doc 'The Fight' Headed to Magnolia Pictures

    Magnolia Pictures is wrapping up a low-seven-figure deal for distribution rights to the moving documentary “The Fight,” insiders told Variety. Premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the project is directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres. CAA and Submarine are brokering the deal on behalf of financiers. The directors also served as [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Quentin Tarantino on Re-Creating 1960s L.A. for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

    Quentin Tarantino’s earliest memory of Los Angeles was as a young boy visiting Grauman’s Chinese Theater, standing in the courtyard and looking at the handprints of John Wayne and Roy Rogers. He recollects the Mold-A-Rama machine outside that dispensed a souvenir wax pagoda if you inserted a quarter. The director had toyed with re-creating that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content