Just within 14 days of its release, a documentary about the pro-democracy protests that erupted in Hong Kong in 2019, set a box office record in Taiwan for an “overseas Chinese” documentary. According to the film’s distributor, “Revolution of Our Times”, directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Kiwi Chow, had grossed around NTD$17 million (or US$600,000) on Wednesday, The Guardian reported. The documentary premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
The documentary was released on Feb. 25 in Taiwan and screened in around 40 theaters across the country, with some customers renting sold-out theaters to view the film for free, according to The Guardian. Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, also endorsed the film. President Tsai Ing-wen posted an Instagram story on March 5 urging people to support the film, Taiwan News reported.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen supported the film
Taking to Twitter, President Tsai said: “The courage and commitment of the people of Hong Kong to democracy is an inspiration to us all as we work to preserve our own freedoms and our way of life”.
𝗥𝗲𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀 @RoOT_filma film documenting the democratic movement in #HongKongnow appears in #Taiwan. The courage and commitment of the people of Hong Kong to democracy is an inspiration to all of us as we work to preserve our own freedoms and our way of life. pic.twitter.com/ggVs57126q
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) March 10, 2022
In addition, according to Taiwan News, several other senior Taiwanese officials, including Vice President Lai Ching-te, Premier Su Tseng-chang, Legislative Chairman of Yuan You Si-kun, former Minister of Transport Lin Chia- lung, the mayor of Kaohsiung Chen Chi-mai, as well as the mayor of Taoyuan, Cheng Wen-tsan, attended private screenings of the film.
The film follows months of major protests in Hong Kong
The documentary “Revolution of Our Times” is set during the movement of the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill and recounts significant events like the storming of the Legislative Council compound, the attack on Yuen Long in 2019, as well as the headquarters of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Chou also conducted personal interviews with Hong Kong residents about their reasons for and experiences of protesting, Taiwan News reported.
The film follows months of massive protests in Hong Kong, in which millions took to the streets to protest against the proposed extradition bill that many believe would subject Hong Kongers to the opaque judicial system of China.
On top of that, the sometimes-turned-aggressive protests prompted Beijing to enact national security legislation, which critics say has been used to suppress all forms of dissent and undermine civil society in the city.
Kiwi Chow, who stayed in Hong Kong, was unable to see her own work in the theatre. He further hailed the success of the documentary, The Guardian reported. “It’s almost like a kind of hug… that so many people are ready to listen to the will and desire of Hong Kong people. I feel a sense of comfort, a sense of power in our unity,” he said. The director went on to say that he felt both envious and grateful. Due to Hong Kong’s national security laws, no public screening was possible.