A documentary chronicling the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong will be screened at his year's Cannes Film Festival. The documentary, which will focus on the protester's stories and struggles, was a surprise addition to the line-up of films. It is scheduled to receive one special screening in Cannes Friday.
Organizers of the event only announced the screening to a select few people, stating that it was a "surprise documentary." Experts said organizers likely did not want to announce the inclusion of the film right away due to its sensitive content.
The documentary, titled "Revolution of Our Times," was produced by Hong Kong filmmaker, Kiwi Chow. The film follows several protesters as they clash with police in various demonstrations throughout 2019.
It also explores how the recently passed national security law has changed the former British colony. The Beijing-drafted law was passed to address the growing civil unrest in Hong Kong by cracking down on subversion, secessionism, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers.
Cannes Takes Diplomatic Gamble, Gives Late Festival Slot to ‘Revolution of Our Times’ Hong Kong Protest Feature https://t.co/YJbRaYBjHE — Variety (@Variety) July 15, 2021
The documentary's screening at the annual film festival is a major milestone given that all protest-related works in China have been banned, including those in cinemas, universities and art galleries. The Hong Kong government also recently enacted new laws that allow authorities to censor films for content that could "threaten national security."
"Being able to have a premiere in the Cannes festival is a good chance to let the world know that there are still people persisting in Hong Kong. I hope they can understand what happened in 2019 and bring some inspiration to the world," Chow said.
Chow said he created the documentary without restrictions despite potential backlash from the Chinese government. He said he did not think about how the film could "cross the red line" as he just wanted to shine a light on the important moment in Hong Kong's history.
Chow said he was inspired to make the documentary after he also became an activist in 2019. He said he was inspired by the acts of resistance by residents and regular city workers such as cleaners against the government.