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'Ten Years' Film Gains Praise and Criticism in Hong Kong

Hong Kong movie producer Andrew Choi, right, and director Ng Ka-leung pose after winning the Best Film award for their movie “Ten Years” during the Hong Kong Film Awards in Hong Kong, Sunday, April 3, 2016.
'Ten Years' Film Gains Praise and Criticism in Hong Kong
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The film "Ten Years" imagines life in Hong Kong under Chinese rule in the year 2025. It shows a protester self-immolating in front of Chinese government offices, and Mandarin replacing the use of the local Cantonese language.

China’s central government blocks any mention of the film on the Internet. But in Hong Kong, the film has been attracting big audiences.

The film was released in December 2015. This month, the film’s producers officially released the film online.

The film’s Executive Producer, Andrew Choi, said he hopes audiences take the film as a warning of Hong Kong’s possible future. He also said he hopes the film inspires people to do something.

"The film gives....the audience, a chance to reflect that if we don’t want to see a future like 'Ten Years,' in ten years’ time, what can we do today to preserve some of the things that we used to enjoy in Hong Kong,” he said.

Earlier this month, "Ten Years" won the top prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Chinese television channels on the mainland usually broadcast the ceremony. But this year, they did not broadcast the awards show.

Some people criticized the award given to "Ten Years." Hong Kong businessman Peter Lam said awards shows are becoming too political. He said the award given to "Ten Years" was “unfortunate for the Hong Kong film industry,” and that the decision was based mostly on the political message in the film.

Lam is chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and owner of the Hong Kong-based Media Asia Film.

"Ten Years" has five short stories. Each story was filmed by a different director. Each one imagines what life in Hong Kong may be like under Beijing’s central government in 2025.

Hong Kong resident Alex Lau said the movie represents many people’s fears that local Hong Kong culture is slowly disappearing, along with political freedoms. “We don’t want Hong Kong people to change and be like Chinese people. So we worry about this,” Lau said.

When the film was first released in Hong Kong, some theaters refused to show the film. But many people have watched the film during community screenings throughout the city.

Pro-democracy activist Joseph Cheung said the movie’s popularity comes from the concerns of Hong Kong’s citizens.

“The political appeal, the political messages, of course are the ones that have been attracting the audience, and that is a bit surprising, and that also reflects the worry and the political concerns of Hong Kong people today,” Cheung said.

"Ten Years" cost just $64,000 to make. It has earned nearly $800,000 in ticket sales since its release last December.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

VOA News reporter Shannon Van Sant reported this story from Hong Kong. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

self-immolate - v. the act of killing oneself as a sacrifice

attract - v. to cause (someone) to choose to do or be involved in something

inspire - v. to make (someone) want to do something

preserve - v. to keep (something) safe from harm or loss

screening - n. a showing of a movie, video, or television program.

reflect - v. to show (something)