'No. 1 Chung Ying Street' connects Hong Kong’s colonial past to its post-Occupy present [Review]

'No. 1 Chung Ying Street' connects Hong Kong’s colonial past to its post-Occupy present [Review]

The film is a thought-provoking drama that delivers a powerful message about social issues past and present


Yee-hong (Yau Hawk-sau, centre) is trying to protect some farmland from property developers.
Photo: Boundary Film Production Limited

Combining Hong Kong’s past and future, No. 1 Chung Ying Street is a thought-provoking drama that you should consider watching with your parents or grandparents for post-viewing discussions.

Divided into two parts, the first half of the story, set in 1967, revolves around three teenagers who get caught up in the eight-month conflict between pro-communist campaigners and the British colonial government.

The film then fast-forwards to Hong Kong in 2019. It follows the lives another trio of young people who participated in the Umbrella Movement, the occupation of parts of the city by pro-democracy protesters in 2014. 

Getting political through comedy

As Sze-wai (Fish Liew Ziyu), Yee-hong (Yau Hawk-sau), and Yat-long (Lo Chun-yip) are trying to protect farmland near the mainland border from property developers, they cross paths with one of the teenagers – now an old man – from the 1967 riots.

With brilliant cinematography and a beautiful score, the Best Picture winner at the 13th Osaka Asian Film Festival intertwines the social issues of the past and present through poignant human stories.

The film’s major flaw, however, lies in the fact that it tends to tell rather than show. Still, despite this heavy-handedness, its message is a powerful one, and will give you something to reflect on as you leave the cinema.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

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This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
A deep exploration of Hong Kong


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