Documentary, Festivals, Film
Jul 15, 2021

Cannes Adds Bombshell Hong Kong Protest Doc, Late Addition to Official Program

Cannes surprised attendee’s by revealing the Hong Kong Protest documentary as a last minute addition to the festival’s stunning 2021 lineup.

A group of protestors, wearing raincoats to protect against tear gas, march down one of Hong Kong’s main thoroughfares during the 2019 pro-democracy protests. Image Credit: DEAR BROS

Cannes inclusion of Revolution of Our Times, a hard-hitting chronicle of police brutality during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests in 2019, is certain attract the ire of China’s ruling Communist Party. However, the documentary is an important look at the evolving politics and changes of China’s populace’s mindset and ideology. As of now, only select members of the international press were invited to the screening of the documentary. The semi-secretive manner and attitude in which the film’s inclusion was announced initially aroused more curiosity in Cannes than its origins and subject matter. On late Wednesday, Cannes sent an email to international press stating that a “surprise documentary” had been added to the program. Earlier in the day, however, a small number of film reporters were invited to attend a “confidential” screening in the Palais’ Salle Soixantieme. The subject matter? One and the same of course. With only 10 reporters in attendance (according to The Hollywood Reporter), the festival requested that no news about the film be released until Thursday afternoon, Cannes time.

Turns out, the sensitivity surrounding the film was warranted. Revolution of Our Times is a forensic and hard-hitting chronicle of the mass street protests that erupted in Hong Kong in the second half of 2019. Protests that were met with a brutal police crackdown, abuse, arrests racked up into the hundreds of activists and pro-democracy advocates. This led to the eventual imposition of near-total Chinese Communist Party control over the once-semidemocratic former colony. Thanks to Hong Kong’s expansive new National Security Law, imposed by Beijing in 2020, those involved in the new documentary could be subject to arrest and charges of subversion.

Revolution of Our Times is directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Kiwi Chow,