Hong Kong Heroes
In 1984, a deal was struck between Great Britain and the People’s Republic of China concerning a planned “Handover” of the Hong Kong colony—part of the British Empire since 1841, scheduled to become part of China come 1997. The people of Hong Kong had little say in the matter, just as they’d had little say in how things were run by the Brits, and few anticipated a better deal from Beijing under the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement promised in the post-unification period by their new landlords. But while muzzled by larger powers in matters of self-determination, little Hong Kong could always speak commandingly through its internationally beloved cinema. Hong Kong Heroes brings together films that, obliquely or directly, address the city’s anxious anticipation of ’97, and its further concerns emerging in the aftermath, showcasing pre-Handover works by Johnnie To, Handover-period films by Fruit Chan, and Chan Tze-woon’s innovative docufiction Blue Island, which links the city’s recent insurrections to its history of rebellion.
By Matt Turner
An interview with Blue Island director Chan Tze-woon.
By R. Emmet Sweeney
On the cult canonization of To’s triple-threat ’90s fantasia The Heroic Trio.