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From The dGenerate Films Collection
Blue Island
Directed by Chan Tze Woon
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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?

Starting with the apparently futile Umbrella Movement in 2014, director Chan Tze Woon has chosen to document this modern era of defiance. Conceived in 2017 and filmed over 5 years, BLUE ISLAND confronts the large-scale 2019 protests in Hong Kong. A new wave of young people took back the streets, as one generation after another has done throughout Hong Kong’s history. Bullets fly across the alleys. Fires ignite. White tear gas and blue water cannons encroach on public spaces. The past, the present and the future converge within a relentlessly documenting lens.

“An interesting blend of documentary and fiction covering the recent years of turmoil in Hong Kong. It’s a bold series of interviews and recreations.” —Letterboxd

“Poignant; shows the heartache and frustration of generations of Hongkongers.” —POV Magazine

“Deeply rewarding… poignant, personal stories. Constructs a sweeping history of dissent in Hong Kong over the course of decades.” —Redefine Magazine

“A film like Blue Island really epitomizes the power of cinema in preserving the truth, which is no small feat, and in the current reality of Hong Kong, a valiant victory.” —VCinema

“Inventive! Suggests that the past is never finished, and neither is Hong Kong.” —Artforum

“Shows how Hong Kong residents have redefined themselves over time... It is impossible to watch BLUE ISLAND without admiring their courage.” —The New York Times

“Innovative and affecting!” —Variety

“A sophisticated and nuanced exploration.” —Hyperallergic

“Visceral! Will kick you in the knees and drop you to the floor.” —Unseen Films

“Where did Hong Kong go? Its history, heritage and, especially, its vibrant cinema have long served as touchstones… [BLUE ILAND] offers much food for thought.” —Screen Anarchy

“A rich, socially-grounded cinematic tapestry.” —Jury of the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival

“Very important, very disturbing... of vital importance because these stories are hardly being told and we cannot hear enough of them.”

“A beautifully crafted blend of documentary and drama, and a must-see for anyone with an interest in history and current socio-political climate in Hong Kong.” —Video Librarian

New Directors New Films 2022
Best Documentary, CAAM FEST 2022
Best International Feature Documentary Award, Hot Docs 2022
Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival 2022

98 minutes / Color
Yue Chinese (Cantonese); Mandarin; English / English subtitles
Release: 2022
Copyright: 2022

For individual consumers (home video)

This DVD is sold for private, home use only.

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For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Asia, China, dGenerate Films Collection - Documentaries, Social Movements, Comparative Government, Biographies, Political Science, Sociology

Watch the trailer:

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