Taking Back the Legislature and Inside the Red Brick Wall depict two critical events in Hong Kong’s relentless 2019 protests, illuminating the messy scrum of direct actions in unflinching detail. Produced collectively and credited anonymously out of concern for the filmmakers’ safety, they present a formal challenge to the tropes and ethics of documentary filmmaking that have come to redefine Hong Kong cinema and the “copaganda” film as genre.
The 2019 Hong Kong protests witnessed not only sustained physical demonstrations by locals, but also a swell of online digital media that recorded and remixed conflicts between protestors and police. By documenting key moving images that circulated throughout social media and the film festival circuit, White’s essay reorients Hong Kong film studies’ relationship with the digital.
It is surely worth remarking that new movies by Wong Karwai and Hou Hsiao-hsien, China’s two leading auteurs, were released stateside on the same April weekend. The remark that springs to mind is: where’s China?