Banned in China, satire lives in Hong Kong. Five dystopian visions of Hong Kong ten years from now by five independent filmmakers, Ten Years mysteriously disappeared from Hong Kong cinemas after drawing record crowds.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
In the last two years, Hong Kong has seen central city sit-ins and localist riots. Guaranteed a degree of autonomy for 50 years after their reunification with China in 1997, Hong Kongers have begun to wonder what lies in store. In Ten Years, five local directors imagine life there in just ten years’ time, at about the halfway point to the full embrace of the mainland. The result is biting satire, humour, weirdness and an undertow of fear – and an unprecedented cinematic insight into the zeitgeist of the city right now. Released on a single screen to turn-away business, the film soon disappeared mysteriously from public exhibition in Hong Kong.
“Political assassination. Self-immolation. Cultural annihilation. Children working as secret police. These are just some of the horrors five young directors envisage for Hong Kong a decade down the line in Ten Years, a dystopian omnibus film that provoked the Chinese government’s ire. In the service of each worst-case scenario, the various shorts employ arresting visuals, edgy film language and absorbing storylines to express some citizens’ uncertainty about viability of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ in the former British colony…
China’s state paper The Global Times branded it ‘thought virus’, and the government allegedly ordered a media blackout when it was nominated for – and won – best film at the Hong Kong Film Awards. When handing out the award, actor-director and HKFA Chairman Derek Yee quoted Franklin Roosevelt: ‘Only thing we have to fear is fear itself’.” — Maggie Lee, Variety