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‘Inside The Red Brick Wall’ Documentary Wins Hong Kong Film Critics Prize

Inside the Red Brick Wall
Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers

Documentary feature “Inside the Red Brick Wall,” which chronicles one of the most dramatic chapters of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, bagged the best film at the 27th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.

The best director prize went to Peter Chan Ho-sun for “Leap,” a sports drama based on the trajectory of China’s national women volleyball team. The film’s star Gong Li, who plays the legendary coach Lang Ping, won best actress, awards organizers announced on Monday.

“Memories to Choke On, Drinks to Wash Them Down,” a four-part anthology film centering around different facades of Hong Kong life, took the best screenplay prize. Awards were decided after six hours of deliberation and three rounds of voting on Sunday. But the critics chose not to present a best actor award because of the lack of narrative film releases in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shot by an anonymous collective calling themselves Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers, “Red Brick” documents the 13-day standoff between police and protesters at the Polytechnic University in November 2019 as part of the pro-democracy protests sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill. There were 1,377 arrests.

Shot from within the PolyU campus, “Red Brick” set a new milestone for documentary filmmaking in Hong Kong, the Film Critics Society said in a statement. They praised the film’s aesthetics, narratives and rational approach in dealing with the vast amount of material collected under dangerous circumstances.

With “Leap,” the critics said Chan had “outdone himself” by crafting a captivating narrative that covers four decades of the country’s volleyball history without letting the film become a propaganda piece.

Five films “Leap,” “Memories,” “3cm,” “One Second Champion,” and “Keep Rolling,” a documentary about veteran filmmaker Ann Hui directed by Man Lim-chun, made the critics’ annual recommendation list.