New Asian Currents Special Invitation Film [HONG KONG]

Almost a Revolution

- HONG KONG / 2015 / Cantonese / Color / Blu-ray / 174 min

Directors, Script: Kwok Tat Chun, Kong King Chu
Photography, Editing, Sound, Source: Kwok Tat Chun

The Occupy Central movement called for civil disobedience in the middle of Hong Kong’s financial district, in pursuit of democratic elections. The movement attracted many sympathetic students and citizens, and became known around the world as the “Umbrella Revolution” in 2014. This film closely follows the action on the ground: debates within the movement, street speeches, the unofficial referendum which was held as part of the campaign, and the student-led protests at the Central Government Office. It examines the tumultuous thoughts and feelings of seven activists who were there at the heart of the struggle.

[Director’s Statement] Some call it a revolution. Others think this is an exaggeration. The debate on the definition of “revolution” can drag on forever. Yet, it is no doubt a historic event of Hong Kong people fighting for democracy. As a documentary filmmaker, I felt overwhelmed with mixed emotions when I realized that history was unfolding before my camera. With limited resources, it would be difficult for our two-member team to record the events in great detail. However, I hope what the film has captured could contribute to the reflection and debate among those who support genuine democracy in Hong Kong.

Kwok Tat Chun

The impact of the Umbrella Movement is gradually fading away from our daily lives. Yet, the dramatic scenes still linger in my mind, some sad and some joyful. If I had not been involved in this film project, I wonder if I would still perceive the Umbrella Movement in the same way. To me, making documentaries is a process of communication and discovery. By talking and listening to activists, I learned about the complexity and dynamics of the movement, which made me more understanding and accommodating of the conflicts and indecisions. Documentary also means memory for the future. I have reached an age where I need to remember our own history. This film, I hope, will be a reminder of the burst of optimism in seventy-nine days of occupation, and also of the long road ahead to genuine democracy in Hong Kong.

Kong King Chu

- (From the right)
Kwok Tat Chun,
Kong King Chu

Having produced documentaries for public TV in Hong Kong and overseas, Kwok Tat Chun is also involved in independent productions. He enjoys freedom with themes and expression as an independent filmmaker. He has produced stories related to the June Fourth Incident and Hong Kong’s return of sovereignty to China. Almost a Revolution is his work on another major social event in recent Hong Kong history.

Kong King Chu, once a newspaper journalist, now a book person, a writer and a community film director. She made her first film in 2004, a docudrama on sex workers in Hong Kong, and has not stopped making films since on activism and activists.