IDENTITY: Following seven protagonists, the fragmentation of Hong Kong society under the 2019 social movement that attracted the attention of the whole world is on full display.
Carmen Gray
Carmen Gray
Freelance film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: May 4, 2020

The notion of living «a borrowed time in a borrowed place» comes up in Chinese director Zhou Bing’s documentary Hong Kong Moments. It’s an interesting turn of phrase, given the cultural discontinuity, the push and pull of belief systems, that underpins the social unrest in contemporary Hong Kong the film explores. In terms of identity, what does it mean to be a Hong Konger, born under the colonial rule of Britain and its instilled individualism, and now in the sphere of rising Chinese influence after 1997’s mandated handover?

The film does well in capturing the complexity of allegiances and tensions in a polarised Hong Kong, as it charts flashpoints of conflict during the 2019 pro-democracy protests. Thousands took to the streets to oppose the perceived threat of their huge, authoritarian neighbour to rights (including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech) guaranteed in law only until 2047. The initial catalyst was Beijing moving to allow extradition to mainland China — plans critics feared could undermine judicial independence and be used to target activists and journalists. Hostility had already been growing against China, as mainlanders poured into Hong Kong …

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