MIRANDA PAK WRITES – Imagine a Hong Kong taxi driver’s income shrinking significantly because he cannot speak Mandarin. This scenario is one of five short films in the Hong Kong indie movie Ten Years.
The local, low budget film visualizes Hong Kong in 2025, “[depicting a radicalized] future in which a National Security Law looms large, the Chinese Communist Party is manifestly exerting its influence, and Hongkongers’ struggle to hold on to their way of life is becoming increasingly futile as they face everything from restrictions on the use of Cantonese to the end of domestic food production.”
One of the producers and directors of the film, Ng Ka-leung, said, “This [movie] is our attempt to somberly confront our worst fears, regardless of possible repercussions… So together we took this leap of faith. All we wanted was to stimulate introspections in our society on the way forward.”
Ten Years has been nominated in the best picture category of Hong Kong Film Awards and even outperformed the latest Star Wars release in the Hong Kong box office. But China will not be airing the Hong Kong Film Awards because of the nomination of Ten Years. Especially since the movie illustrates a vision of Hong Kong’s future, where all the freedom the Hong Kong people have now, is dissolving because of the increased mainland Chinese control.
Some of the scenarios depicted in the film are already starting to show up in Hong Kong today. Two weeks ago, on February 22, a local broadcaster used simplified Chinese characters for its subtitles, causing a huge uproar among Hong Kong natives since subtitles in Hong Kong have always been in traditional Chinese characters.
While some people may see this as irrelevant or trivial, the Hong Kong people see this minor change as the beginning of their culture being wiped out.
With China banning the broadcast of this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards and with people feeling like their culture is being wiped out, would Ten Years become a reality?
Watch the trailer for Ten Years: