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Commemorating Hong Kong’s lost youth

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Blue Island takes commendable risks in form. The documentary follows a group of people arrested by the Hong Kong state during the anti-extradition law protests of 2019. The young arrestees (born as recently as 1997!) interview older citizens who fled mainland China during the cultural revolution under Mao, and even re-enact their grandparents’ ‘re-education’ as agricultural labourers with the use of time warps.

But, for all its variety of presentation, Blue Island’s execution feels lukewarm. The intergenerational conversations feel stilted and repetitive – lacking any real meat. Former activists, now middle-aged business men, lament their disillusionment with student leaders – while impassioned, younger men obsequiously insist this is a fight worth continuing with. Kenneth Lam for instance, is a solicitor who represents and advises the city’s debt-ridden working people. He nods to his former days of occupying public spaces by assisting those picked up by Hong Kong police for charges such as rioting… Full article

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