Controversial Hong Kong indie film, #TenYears, wins Asian film award

In still from movie, Youth Guard members  egg a bookstore

In still from movie, Youth Guard members egg a bookstore

An independent film depicting a dystopian Hong Kong in the year 2025 won top honors at the Hong Kong Film Awards this weekend.

The film, Ten Years, reflects the fears Hong Kongers have about the effects of reunification with mainland China. In five vignettes, the film suggests oppression familiar to readers of George Orwell’s 1984 will be normal, and that the freedoms present-day Hong Kong enjoys will slowly be eroded away.

Needless to say, the film is banned on the mainland. According to the BBC, censors have blocked reports referring to the film’s award. Limited screenings are planned for the USA, and other countries.

Produced on a HK$500,000 budget, the film has made HK$6 million so far, despite HK theaters limiting or canceling screenings, fearing government interference. No such interference occurred, however.

Hong Kong citizens have been increasingly worried that the mainland government will exert more control over the special autonomous region (SAR), despite formal agreement in 1997 of the “one country, two systems” policy. That agreement, reached as Britain returned its former colony to China, assured that the mainland government would not interfere with the politics and laws already established in Hong Kong.

But mainland authorities have so far denied universal suffrage to Hong Kong citizens, which was to be granted by 2017, per the handover agreement. The mysterious disappearances of five book publishers from Hong Kong and Thailand, and their reappearance on the mainland some weeks later have also worried HK residents, who suspect mainland authorities detained the five men for publishing books critical of President Xi JinPing and the Community Party of China.

In January, an editorial in the Chinese-language edition of Global Times, the state-run newspaper, characterized the film as “absurd” and called it a “thought virus” 思想病毒, which Hong Kong residents must resist in order to be happy.

Here’s a trailer for the movie.

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