In 2014, The Economist cited the late Qing scholar Kang Youwei as the inaugurator of Chinese student activism, of which Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement was its latest manifestation. Evans Chan’s Chinatopia, a documentary about Kang -- China’s first major constitutional reformer and the world’s first advocate, at the turn of the 20th century, of gay marriage creates a thematic canopy for the five films in this retrospective, which explores a Chinese century’s quest for artistic cosmopolitanism (The Rose of the Name), democracy (Raise the Umbrellas and We Have Boots) and the empowerment of sexual minorities and women (Death in Montmartre and The Map of Sex and Love). This retrospective includes an open lecture by Chan about Southern China’s cosmopolitanism and the global legacy of Martin Luther King.
“Evans Chan has made a singular contribution to Hong Kong cinema and at the same time a major contribution to the whole spectrum of contemporary film-making. His work achieves a seamless blend of fact and fiction to produce an innovative kind of essayistic cinema, driven equally by issues and by his own experiences and perceptions. He draws on everything from literature and political studies to journalism and social-activist campaigns for his subjects – and on everything from film history to performance art for his images. Best of all, he’s rigorously non-conformist: he asks the awkward questions, probes the areas of sensitivity and challenges orthodoxies at every turn.” -- Tony Rayns, British film critic
Panel Discussion: Mette Hjort, Petula Ho; Moderated by: Denise Tang (Discussion would be conducted in English, and partly in Cantonese.)
Raise the Umbrellas + We Have Boots (Special Preview)
Panel Discussion: Margaret Ng, Shiu Ka-chun, Tommy Cheung; Moderated by Hui Po-keung (Discussion would be conducted in Cantonese.)
USA | 2018 | 66' 00" | In Cantonese & English with English & Chinese Subtitles | HD | Color
We Have Boots is a moving sequel to Raise the Umbrellas, featuring young activists, Agnes Chow, Ray Wong, Alex Chow, Tommy Cheung; artist Kacey Wong; legislator Shiu Ka-chun; and Occupy initiators, Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man. In the post-Umbrella era of disqualification and prosecution, all of them reflect on their personal paths – from pursuing graduate studies or seeking political asylum overseas, to accepting the political cost of dissent by confronting the prospect of imprisonment. The title of the film is inspired by a poem by the African American poet, Nikki Giovanni: “We begin a poem / with longing / and end with / responsibility / And laugh / all through the storms / that are bound / to come / We have umbrellas / We have boots / We have each / other.”
20/11 (Tue) 7:30pm*
Panel Discussion: Gina Marchetti, Mike Ingham (Discussion would be conducted in English, and partly in Cantonese.)
Hailed as "a rare film from Hong Kong, wise and profound" by the 2001 Hong Kong International Film Festival, The Map of Sex and Love explores history, past and present, and love, gay and straight, through three interrelated stories – “Rubber Band,” “Belgrade,” and “Nazi Gold.” In “Rubber Band,” a gay dancer is advised to heal his perversity by snapping a rubber band against his wrist; in “Belgrade,” a girl has a traumatic revelation while traveling in Eastern Europe; and in “Nazi Gold,” a filmmaker has an eerie encounter with traces of the Third Reich in Macau. “The film is…seductive as it negotiates the spaces between desire and inhibition, between the troubled mind and the always troublesome body, between cruising and map-making.” (TimeOut London) Bernardo Chow, Cherie Ho, and Victor Ma, who received a nomination for The Best Supporting Actor at the Taiwan Golden Horse Film Festival, give riveting performances.
Chinatopia is an abridged version of Evans Chan’s two-part documentaries, acclaimed by critics and historians, Two or Three Things about Kang Youwei (2013) and Datong: The Great Society (2011). While previously known mainly for spearheading the Hundred Days Reform (1889), a modernization drive crushed by Empress Dowager Cixi, Kang Youwei comes alive in Chinatopia through evocation of his cosmopolitanism and Asian American activism – including an anti-American boycott he orchestrated in 1905-06 to beat back the Chinese Exclusion Acts, which resulted in two meetings with a conciliatory Theodore Roosevelt. “From a diasporic perspective,” said historian Huang Ke-wu, “Chan has fashioned an unusual framework to examine modern Chinese history…[the Datong films force] us to re-examine…the idealism and disillusionment that the Chinese people have experienced during the past century… they matched triumphantly ‘the truth of history’ with ‘the beauty of art’.”
The Rose of the Name: Writing Hong Kong
Panel Discussion: Yan Pat-to, Louis Ho; Moderated by Cheung Ho Sum, Sam (Discussion would be conducted in Cantonese.)
As the first film to feature scenes from Hong Kong’s 2014 democratic Umbrella Movement, this essayistic documentary offers a portrait of Dung Kai-cheung, the city’s emerging voice in world literature, a slice of social history through interviews with his family members, as well as a mini-history of Hong Kong literature. Rose explores not only the challenge faced by writers working in a so-called "cultural desert," but also the search of an ethnic and cultural minority for its literary and political voice in Greater China and the world. “Chan’s wide-angle perspective succeeds not only in placing the writer firmly in the line that stretches from Borges to Calvino,” said British film critic Tony Rayns, “but also convincingly connects Dung’s work with Hong Kong’s new generation of protestors themselves. This is cinema for the 21st century: a conceptual blend of fiction, nonfiction and performance art that’s completely in synch with its subject.”
Ticket prices: $75 / 60*
* 20% discount for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and the minder and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. Tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis. Concessionary ticket holders must produce evidence of their identity or age upon admission.
** 20% off for each purchase of 4 or more standard tickets.
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*To know more about the talk “HKAC Art Shop Inspiration series x Lingnan University 50th Anniversary Lecture Series (2017-2018): Cosmopolitanism, Civil Disobedience and The Global Legacy of Martin Luther King” included in this programme, please visit https://www.hkac.org.hk/calendar_detail/?u=VEfBtuw6w_U&lang=en for details.