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At the very beginning, I had heard a lot of people saying this is a film which should be in the must-watch list. Frankly, I feared for watching this film though when it came out three years ago. The reason is that I was afraid that the plot of this film would come true one day. But then I watched it three months ago after all because I thought that I shall never escape from it anymore. Watching it could let me learn how to face the situation and could introspect myself. This film consists five short stories. Each story has described Hong Kong in 2025 realistically. Moreover, all the stories expressed rich sense of hopeless. However, the people in the stories still persist. I would just talk about three of them due to limited length nevertheless.
Before the International Labour Day celebration in 2020, the government trump up a false flag assassination plot to stir up the mind of the public in order to support the legislation of the National Security Law. It hire two gangster to carry out the plan. The official of government claims to give them a great deal of money and persuade them that they can flee to India after the plot done. They misbelieve that would be realistic so they agree to assassin the two targets (both are the legislators in the pro-establishment camp). However, these two gangsters fail to shot them down and be killed instantly. Later, the government identify these two gangsters are terrorists so that it can launch the legislation of National Security Law without any obstacle. During the Umbrella Revolution, there were some triad-like behaviours, attacking and sexually assaulting the protesters launched by the pro-establishment groups. You could see that the Communist Party of China would reach their objective by any means. That is why Hongkongers were afraid of governing by China totally.
Au-yeung Kin-fung, a young supporter who is the first person to be convicted under the National Security Law and die due to carrying out a hunger strike in prison. Soon after his death, an unknown person immolate himself/herself in front of the British Consulate-General in Admiralty. The story-telling is interweaved with interviews with commentators analysing the self-immolating event and providing background information such as the breach of Sino-British Joint Declaration by China.
The most profound part for me in this story is that the owner of a houseware store who sold the oil to the self-immolator being house arrested by secret police. I heard someone claims that he/she hates politics recently. The oil seller is just a portrayal of these people because although you hate politics, politics is surrounding you unavoidably. Local EggSam, the owner of a grocery store, is told that the last local farm which sells the local eggs would close soon. He then visits the owner of the farm and realises that the farm is forced to close by the government in order to kill off the local industries. After that, Sam’s store is frequently checked by the Red-Guards-like young-guards since he used “local eggs” to describe the eggs he sells on the price tag. He wonders why Hong Kong eggs instead of local eggs would be fine while they are the same things. He then find out that his son is among the squad which throw eggs to a bookstore. However, his son, Ming, promised him to think not just follow and he refused to participate this vandalism. Moreover, Sam then talk to the owner. And find that Ming always leaks out the censor list to the owner of the book store so that the owner can avoid censorship. Sam then reminds the owner not to get used to such suppressive acts.
I cannot deny that the costume of the young-guards is a little bit exaggerating. But, the same level of brain-washing is prevalent in Hongkong today, And the dialogue from Sam, “Do not get used to it. We got used to it, that’s why you suffer, ” is very deep in my heart. The film ends with “Already too late” fading out and replaced by “Not too late”. Hongkonger, we are never too late to save our lovely place.
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