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Propagandist or objective observer? Independent documentaries in/on Hong Kong's recent social movements

Propagandist or objective observer? Independent documentaries in/on Hong Kong's recent social... This article explores recent changes in Hong Kong’s independent documentary filmmaking during a decade of escalating protests in the territory, focusing in particular on cinema's role in Hong Kong's “movement field.”Design/methodology/approachThe article focuses on Ying E Chi, an important distributor and promoter of Hong Kong independent films; the annual Hong Kong Independent Film Festival it organizes; three recent documentaries it distributes that are relevant to the 2019–2020 protests. The findings in this article are based on interviews, the textual analysis of relevant films and participant observation at film screenings.FindingsThis study argues that independent documentaries function in Hong Kong's “movement field” in three main ways: by contributing to and providing a space for civic discourse, by facilitating international advocacy and by engaging in memory work. Its contributions to civic culture, it asserts, are reflected in the films' observational aesthetic, which invites reflection and discussion. Public screenings and lengthy post-screening discussions are important ways in which these functions are realized.Originality/valueThis article builds on existing literature to propose a new way of thinking about cinema's role in Hong Kong social movements. It also analyses three important recent films that have not yet been covered much in existing academic literature. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Education and Development Studies Emerald Publishing

Propagandist or objective observer? Independent documentaries in/on Hong Kong's recent social movements

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2046-3162
DOI
10.1108/aeds-08-2020-0190
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article explores recent changes in Hong Kong’s independent documentary filmmaking during a decade of escalating protests in the territory, focusing in particular on cinema's role in Hong Kong's “movement field.”Design/methodology/approachThe article focuses on Ying E Chi, an important distributor and promoter of Hong Kong independent films; the annual Hong Kong Independent Film Festival it organizes; three recent documentaries it distributes that are relevant to the 2019–2020 protests. The findings in this article are based on interviews, the textual analysis of relevant films and participant observation at film screenings.FindingsThis study argues that independent documentaries function in Hong Kong's “movement field” in three main ways: by contributing to and providing a space for civic discourse, by facilitating international advocacy and by engaging in memory work. Its contributions to civic culture, it asserts, are reflected in the films' observational aesthetic, which invites reflection and discussion. Public screenings and lengthy post-screening discussions are important ways in which these functions are realized.Originality/valueThis article builds on existing literature to propose a new way of thinking about cinema's role in Hong Kong social movements. It also analyses three important recent films that have not yet been covered much in existing academic literature.

Journal

Asian Education and Development StudiesEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 6, 2022

Keywords: Hong Kong; Independent cinema; Protest; Movement field; Documentary; Ying E Chi; HKIndieFF

References