Hong Kong Lost or Found?

Hong Kong Lost or Found? digital flyer

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This film series features four extraordinary works of two documentary filmmakers – Evans Chan (陳耀成) and Chan Tze-woon (陳梓桓) --  who have chronicled Hong Kong’s two transitions (1997 and 2020) and major social protests in between. The four films are free and accessible to all online, each for 24 hours. Join us for a post-screening discussion with them in-person or online on March 3 at 9 pm (PST) at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater.

  • Feb 10: Journey to Beijing 北征 by Evans Chan

  • Feb 17: Yellowing 亂世備忘 by Chan Tze-woon

  • Feb 24: We Have Boots 我們有雨靴 by Evans Chan

  • March 3: Blue Island 憂鬱之島 by Chan Tze-woon

Co-organizers: Global Hong Kong Studies@UC, Hong Kong on Screen, Melnitz Movies

Cosponsors: UCLA Asia Pacific center, UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, UC Davis East Asian Studies, UCSD 21st Century China Center, UCSD International Institute, UCI Center for Asian Studies, Pomona College Asian Studies

Journey to Beijing 北征 by Evans Chan

Feb 10: Journey to Beijing 北征 by Evans Chan

1998, Hong Kong, Documentary, 110 min, in Cantonese and English with Chinese & English subtitles

Venue: Online on Vimeo, 24-hour availability

Time: 2/10/2023 12:00am - 11:59 pm PST


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About the Movie

Hailed by "Sight and Sound” as "a remarkable documentary [offering] the all-round best account of the issues surrounding the hand-over of Hong Kong,” JOURNEY TO BEIJING features a 4-month philanthropic walk from the territory to Beijing, through which writer-director Evans Chan views the rainbow-hued cross-currents of a Hong Kong gearing up for July 1, 1997 -- when Britain handed the city back to China.

In this humorous and bittersweet look at the last leg of a sweeping historical journey that dates back to the 1842 Opium Wars, JOURNEY interviewed walkers such as an aviator who once flew post-Mao strongman Deng Xiaoping, a woman who witnessed the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and a man testing his love for his wife through separation. Interposed with scenes from the walkathon as it passes through Mao's birthplace, the Yellow River, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall are glimpses of a mutating Hong Kong -- artists (Helen Lai, Joanna Chan) and environmentalists (Christine Loh, Lew Young); gay rights worriers (Stanley Kwan, Julian Chan) and concerned politicians and observers (Martin Lee, Philip Bowring, Lee Yee). “In the same ball park…of a Chris Marker film” (Tony Rayns)

movie poster

Feb 17: Yellowing 亂世備忘 by Chan Tze-woon

2016, Hong Kong, Documentary, 129 min, in Cantonese and English with Chinese & English subtitles

Venue: Online on Vimeo, 24-hour availability

Time: 2/17/2023 12:00am - 11:59 pm PST


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About the Movie

The turmoil that has overtaken Hong Kong since its return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 has spawned a new generation of young, passionately committed activist filmmakers; they want to tell Hong Kong's story with Hong Kong voices. And the best indie documentary to have emerged so far from the HKSAR is this year's Yellowing, by Chan Tze Woon, a 29-year-old with degrees in policy studies and film production. Hong Kong's fraught, tense relationship with its mainland Chinese overseers came to a head with the Umbrella Movement of 2014. A crowd of protesters stormed Civic Square on September 27. The next day police shocked most residents of the HKSAR by attacking the growing crowds with volleys of tear gas, whereupon a wide cross section of Hong Kongers occupied the streets in several areas and stayed for almost 6 weeks. Chan took his camera on the streets for 67 days during these events. He shot 1000 hours of footage, out of which he crafted a sensational and moving document featuring revealing portraits of students who camped out on the streets and organized a temporary, alternative, cooperative and communitarian Hong Kong. Richly detailed, engrossing and dramatic, this film captures the sights, sounds, and feelings of a time when tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens, led by energized and idealistic youth, defied their government and demanded real democracy.

We Have Boots poster

Feb 24: We Have Boots 我們有雨靴 by Evans Chan

2020, USA, Documentary, 125 min, in Cantonese & English with English and Chinese subtitles

Venue: Online on Vimeo, 24-hour availability

Time: 2/24/2023 12:00am - 11:59 pm PST


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About the Movie

Electric and analytical, WE HAVE BOOTS marches through the last six years of activism in Hong Kong, the first draft of a history that may just as quickly be suppressed. It’s a history told in paintball shells and improvised tactics, in subways, airports, and campuses, capturing young and old in an existential standoff. Evans Chan’s essential documentary covers the events of the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and the anti-extradition protests that shook the streets in 2019. But what makes WE HAVE BOOTS such a critical work is that it gives equal attention to what happened in between those bookends, when teenage protesters became the political vanguard, and when veteran scholars became enemies of the state. In those years of eerie apprehension, the protest shifted into the legislature, the realm of street art, and the conflict over free speech and the wealth gap.

Interviewing key participants–Ray Wong, Agnes Chow, Benny Tai, Shiu Ka-chun, Chan Kin-man, and others–Chan complements the shocking and sublime on-the-ground documentation with insights into the consequences of speaking out and the adjustments in philosophy and strategy required to maneuver…The film has an epilogue too–2020 has more curveballs in store… (Brian Hu, San Diego Asian Film Festival)

movie poster for blue island

March 3: Blue Island 憂鬱之島 by Chan Tze-woon

2022, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Documentary, 97 min, in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English with Chinese & English subtitles

Online Venue: on Vimeo, 24-hour availability 12:00am - 11:59 pm PST

In-person Venue 7:00 pm, James Bridges Theater, UCLA

Post-screening Q&A: 9 pm, James Bridges Theater, UCLA or online

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About the Movie

These are all stories of youth. A young man preferred to risk swimming across the raging sea towards a safe haven in order to avoid being caught up in the Cultural Revolution on the mainland. Another young man resisting colonialism was imprisoned for printing patriotic periodicals during the riots, and was long forgotten by the country after his release. A third youth went to Beijing to support students' demands for freedom, only to see their dreams and bodies crushed under the treads of tanks.

The beliefs and ideals held by each generation are eventually submerged by the deluge of history. How do these generations recall, confront, and narrate their irreversible fates? The film documents three real-life characters who engaged in rebellions when they were young. Through reconstructing these events, the film dramatizes their scarred memories and experiences by using four young people who participated in the 2019 Anti-extradition Law Amendment Movement in Hong Kong. These real protagonists are separated by time and history, yet their lives parallel and overlap, because they have similarly defiant backgrounds and find themselves the same chaotic predicaments.

Images flow between documentary and drama, blending archival materials, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, weaving an expansive tapestry that encompasses these tumultuous eras...

How do the young people of this city envision their future today? What do they think about this seemingly unwinnable revolution?

About the Directors

Evans Chan 陳耀成

photo of Evans Chan

EVANS CHAN (www.evanschan.com) is a New York and Hong Kong-based critic, librettist and an independent filmmaker of four fiction narrative and ten documentary films -- including Crossings (1994), Journey to Beijing (1998), Adeus Macau (2000) The Map of Sex and Love (2001), Bauhinia (2002), The Life and Times of Wu Zhongxian (2003), Sorceress of the New Piano (2004), and The Rose of the Name: Writing Hong Kong (2014) -- which have been screened at the Berlin, Rotterdam, London, Moscow, Vancouver, AFI-Docs, Seattle and Taiwan Golden Horse film festivals, among others.  His directorial debut To Liv(e) (1991) was listed by Time Out Hong Kong (March 2012) as one of the 100 Greatest Hong Kong Films.  His docu-drama about China’s pioneering constitutional reformer, Kang Youwei, Datong: The Great Society, received the 2011 Chinese-language Movie of the Year Award, presented by the PRC’s Southern Metropolitan Daily, for “returning fuller memories and humanity to Chinese history.”  Chan subsequently adapted his Datong film into the libretto for Datong: The Chinese Utopia, presented by the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2015, toured London in 2017, and praised by Bachtrack as “a major new opera.”  

Chan’s recent credits include Love and Death in Montmartre (2019), a Hamburg International Queer Film Festival Best Film nominee, and his two films about Hong Kong’s pro-democratic movement, Raise the Umbrellas (2016) and We Have Boots, Winner of the Documentary Award at Berlin’s Internationales Festival Zeichen der Nacht (International Festival Signs of the Night) in 2020.  Boots (www.raisetheumbrellas.com) had been streamed extensively by festivals and film institutions in the US and UK.  A critical anthology about Chan’s work, Postcolonalism, Diaspora, and Alternative Histories: The Cinema of Evans Chan was published by the HKU Press in 2015.  

Of Evans Chan, British film critic Tony Rayns said: “Chan has made a singular contribution to Hong Kong cinema and at the same time a major contribution to the whole spectrum of contemporary film-making. His work achieves a seamless blend of fact and fiction to produce an innovative kind of essayistic cinema, driven equally by issues and by his own experiences and perceptions. He draws on everything from literature and political studies to journalism and social-activist campaigns for his subjects—and on everything from film history to performance art for his images. Best of all, he's rigorously non-conformist: he asks the awkward questions, probes the areas of sensitivity and challenges orthodoxies at every turn." (https://hkupress.hku.hk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1403&search=cinema+of+evans+chan)

Chan obtained his MA in Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, and his PhD in Screen Cultures at Northwestern University.  

“In the 1990s, director Evans Chan was a trailblazer making influential experimental narrative features…His recent work sets incisive, revelatory interviews in a provocative and fascinating artistic context combining music, art, and poetry. Bracing intellectual history: engaged, vibrant, artful, and powerfully moving.” (Shelly Kraicer, International Rotterdam Film Festival)

Chan Tze Woon 陳梓桓

photo of  Chan Tze Woon


Chan Tze Woon is a Hong Kong-based director and writer. Born 1987 and raised in this city, his debut feature-length documentary Yellowing (2016) examined the Umbrella Movement, a large-scale civil occupation in 2014. This documentary explored Hong Kong’s fraught relationship with mainland China. It won the Shinsuke Ogawa Prize at the 2017 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2016 Taipei Golden Horse Film Awards.

Chan’s first two short films, The Aqueous Truth (2013) and Being Rain: Representation and Will (2014), both broached the subject of Hong Kong’s political situation by means of conspiracy plots and the mockumentary form.

Blue Island is Chan’s second feature-length film.

Director Filmography

  • Blue Island (2022)

  • Dream Residue (short film, 2020)

  • Yellowing (2016)

  • Being Rain: Representation and Will (short film, 2014)

  • The Aqueous Truth (short film, 2013)

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