Raise the Umbrellas

A man at a rally in Hong Kong.

Presented by the Asian Film and Media Initiative in the Department of Cinema Studies.

Raise the Umbrellas
(2016, 117 mins.)
Screening and Discussion

Wednesday, February 21 at 6:00 pm
Michelson Theater
Department of Cinema Studies
721 Broadway, 6th Floor

Hailed as “the most comprehensive documentary” about Hong Kong’s 2014 democratic Umbrella Movement, but repeatedly the target of censorship, Raise the Umbrellas explores the Occupy protest’s origin and impact through the inter-generational lenses of three post-Tiananmen democratic activists – Martin Lee, founder of the Hong Kong Democratic party; Benny Tai, Occupy Central initiator; and Joshua Wong, the sprightly student leader  – along with voices from “umbrella mothers,” student occupiers, star politicians (Emily Lau and Leung Kwok-hung), prominent media professionals (Jimmy Lai, Ching Cheong), international scholars (Andrew Nathan, Arif Dirlik, Ho-fung Hung) and activist LGBT Canton-pop icons Denise Ho and Anthony Wong.

Incisive and intimate, driven by stirring on-site footage in a major Asian metropolis riven by protest, Umbrellas reveals the Movement’s eco-awareness, gay activism, and burgeoning localism. Various anti-Occupy views, underscored by an interview with the pro-Beijing heavyweight Jasper Tsang, lays bare the sheer political risk for post-colonial Hong Kong’s universal-suffragist striving to define its autonomy within China.

Post-screening discussion with director Evans Chan.

Free and open to the public.

Photos courtesy of P H Yang Photography 攝影; 楊必興 | phyang.org

About the Director

Film scholar Michael Berry has called Evans Chan陳耀成 (www.evanschan.com), “one of the most singularly innovative and diverse figures in the Chinese cultural world.” Chan is a New York-based critic, playwright, and one of Hong Kong’s leading independent filmmakers. He has made four narrative features and eight documentaries, including Crossings (1994), Journey to Beijing (1998), The Map of Sex and Love (2001), Bauhinia (2002), The Life and Times of Wu Zhongxian (2003), Sorceress of the New Piano (2004), and The Rose of the Name: Writing Hong Kong (2014), and Death in Montmartre (2018) Time Out Hong Kong (March, 2012) has named Chan’s directorial debut, To Liv(e) (1991), one of the 100 Greatest Hong Kong Films. His docu-drama about Kang Youwei, Datong: The Great Society, received the 2011 Chinese-language Movie of the Year Award, presented by Southern Metropolitan Daily, for “returning fuller memories and humanity to Chinese history.” He has adapted his Kang Youwei film into the libretto for Datong: The Chinese Utopia.  When presented in Hong Kong (2015) and London (2017), Datong was hailed as a “musically intriguing” (Financial Times) “major new opera… [resonant with] the chinese political climate today,” with “a witty” (Bachtrack) and “eloquent” libretto. (South China Morning Post)  

Chan’s award-winning films have been shown at the Berlin, Rotterdam, London, Moscow, Vancouver, San Francisco and Taiwan Golden Horse film festivals, among others.