By Isla Lamont,
International News Writer
The controversial movie, “Ten Years,” has won the prize for best film at the Hong Kong film awards. This top prize was received among a wave of criticism, mostly from mainland China.
“Ten Years” examines and explores the fears of current day Hong Kong citizens living under Beijing influence. The dystopian film shows vignettes of five different aspects of life in Hong Kong in 2025. Describes the Guardian, “there is growing anxiety that Beijing is eroding the freedoms enshrined in the 1997 handover deal between Britain and China.”
Relations between Hong Kong and Beijing have been increasingly tense since China’s violent ten year Cultural Revolution which took place from 1966-1976. Hong Kong is currently a semi-autonomous territory of China.
Each chapter of the movie is shown from the viewpoint of a different person, and each is directed by a different director. In imaginings of the not-so-distant future, children in militia uniforms patrol the streets acting as behavior-monitors, the native Cantonese language is condemned in favor of Mandarin, and an elderly woman self-immolates in front of a British embassy.
The film was released in Hong Kong to packed theatres but quickly disappeared from public screens, even as it was making HK $6,000,000. Various local community centers continue to hold small screenings. “Ten Years” will still appear in limited release or at festivals in Taiwan, Singapore, the US and Italy.
Chinese critics and Beijing officials are blamed for the sudden removal. The film is banned in mainland China, and related news coverage was censored when a feature appeared on BBC World News. China’s state-run newspaper, Global Times, wrote a scathing review marking the film as “totally absurd” and a “virus of the mind”. Other foreign critics consider it something entirely different, one source calling it “a smoke grenade lobbed down Hong Kong’s corridors of power”.
The film was made quite low budget, produced for about HK 500,000 or $64,000 US dollars. Some of the crew were volunteers, working for no pay.
According to the BBC, Andrew Choi, the film’s producer, commented on the award saying, “The meaning of this prize is that it shows Hong Kong still has hope. It reminds us that we could have courage to be creative. I would like to thank everyone who has watched it.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 12th print edition.
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