The film ‘Ten Years’ is a production done in 2015. It was directed by Jevons Au, Zune Kwok and three other directors. In 2016, the film was selected as the “best film” category in the Hong Kong Film Awards. Its popularity among the Hong Kong people in general is unmatched. Its performance was considered to have been better than films such as Star wars with its substantial budgeting (Lee-Young 2). The paper addresses the major theme in the film, the erosion of the Hong Kong culture.
The opening scene starts with a protester using gasoline to burn herself outside the British consulate. According to the directors this was intended to shock the viewers and portray the dire condition of the people in the country. The film paints a picture of a future that is very terrible with short film sets that are in 2025 (Lee-Young 6). The idea being that Hong Kong has been fighting for democracy for so many years and they have constantly been lied to for a very long period. The shots that touch on local egg and Dialect are touching on the topic of the lost identity of the city as it moves more towards the mainland. In the shot of Dialect a taxi driver is seen unable to find work as he is not able to speak fluent Mandarin; at the same time the marginalized native Cantonese speakers find it hard to secure work (Lee-Young 4). According to director Au Man-kit, no one seems to be protecting the Cantonese. Through his experiences writing a screen play in local dialect would not have met the commercial needs unlike writing in Mandarin that is accepted for both Hong Kong and Chinese production. This is a concept that resonates well with situation being portrayed. There have been suggestions to make Mandarin a requirement for local taxi drivers. The suggestions were however rejected by the people.
The issue of immigration is also featured. It would appear that most people feel that moving to a different country provides better security than staying put within their own country. The year 2025 seems to have all the bad cultural erosion that could never get the city back to its feet. Watching the film one cannot help but feel that there is lack of hope for the city. However the producers seem to point to a different directive in shooting. The intention was to shock people enough to present solutions to the already dire conditions. After the airing of the film the responses triggered a need for solution among people (Lee-Young 7).
The cases of abductions and disappearance of activists and literature writers is now a major concern among Hong Kong citizens. It is also featured in the film showing an activist disappearing and reappearing under police custody. In the film Au-yeung Kin-fung is the first to be convicted under the National Security Law. He eventually dies during a hunger strike in prison. His death inspires self-immolation, which leads to questions of how the country would look like by the year 2047. There have been concerns that the Chines government in reaction to resistance or protests is kidnapping such activists.
The timing of the film has also been considered as being perfect. The city was still healing from its 2014 street protests. The protests were for a push to a wider democracy in the proposed Umbrella movement. There were also headlines that were disturbing at the start of the year 2015. The reasons for the tension have been linked to tussling with Beijing over the “one country, two system” framework. In reality the situation is not as bad as the film presented.
The Culture is eroded and the push and shove between China and Hong Kong is a reality. There is discourse among residences about the need for self-democracy. Considered as a push to preserve their own culture, it is also a push to have control over what is unknown considering the influences of the mainland cultures. The reactions of the people were more influenced by the current events.
The film acted as a release of expression of what has been boiling within the minds of most of the residents of Hong Kong. Because of the events that were witnessed the country was trying to speak its mind to oppose such actions taken by the government. In the minds of those who left to seek better lives elsewhere the film is a realization of their fears. All the bad that is affecting the city has clearly been brought out in the film. In places like Vancouver that has a high majority of Hong Kong immigrants, the events in the film are not answering the question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ it will be like it is in the film. The director Choi is quoted as pointing out that the film is not only about the bad but also the push for hope. The film ends with the portrayal of a secret book and also a young protester who is able to uphold his thoughts and views.
Lee-Young, J. (2016, October 7). Ten Years, a film that took Hong Kong by storm. Retrieved from Vancouver Sun: http://vancouversun.com/entertainment/local-arts/ten-years-a-film-that-took-hong-kong-by-storm