Art and Experience:

An award-winning documentary about Hong Kong’s 2019 protests that has been effectively banned in its hometown has been set as the showpiece of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival.

Inside the Red Brick Wall” will play as the festival’s opening film, organizers announced on Thursday. The festival is set to run April 30 – May 9, 2021.

The film chronicles the 13-day standoff between police and protesters at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University in November 2019. It was one of the most turbulent events of the city-wide political protests that lasted for more than half a year.

“Red Brick” was named as the best film by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society in January, but its first commercial screenings in Hong Kong were canceled earlier this month. Pro-Beijing supporters and media suggested that the film may violate the city’s National Security Law, causing exhibitors Golden Scene Cinema and the Hong Kong Arts Centre to halt their plans to screen it.

 

The film, shot by a collective of anonymous filmmakers, was given a category III, or 18+ rating, by Hong Kong’s Film Censorship Authority. Producer and Hong Kong distributor, Ying E Chi explained that the rating only restricts the age of the audience and does not make the film illegal.

TIDF director Wood Lin said that “Inside the Red Brick Wall” is an important work for the era and should be introduced to Taiwan audiences. He described the film as documenting Hong Kong people’s quest for freedom, and said that it was made by a crew under strenuous circumstances.

The same film crew also shot “Taking Back the Legislature,” a 47-minute film depicting an earlier chapter of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, when protesters stormed the Legislative Council building on July 1, 2019. The earlier film was later shortlisted for best documentary award at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Awards in 2020.

In June last year, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress bypassed the Special Administrative Region’s own Legislative Council and directly introduced the National Security Law into Hong Kong’s body of legislation. The NSL bans activities related to secession, terrorism, subversion of the state and collusion with foreign influences to endanger national security. Over 100 people have been arrested under the law’s provisions, including many activists and most of the city’s pro-democracy legislators.

Source: Variety