2005 Special Presentation by the 3rd Social Movement Film Festival (Hong Kong)

Special Presentation by the 3rd Social Movement Film Festival (Hong Kong)

Organized by the Video Power and the Social Movement Resources Centre, HKFS

From 2 October 2005 to 20 November 2005, we have presented the 3rd Social Movement Film Festival (Hong Kong) in preparation for the WTO MC6 hoping to call up the local awareness on the issues.

Knowing that friends of all colors will join hands here in Hong Kong in December for the WTO MC6, we want to open our windows and take this chance to get together to share our dreams. After the WTO WC6, we have arranged to present two movies and the platform to converge and weave our web to further all ours struggles before we say our farewell.

Let’s join together on 19th and 20th December, 2005 so that ours struggles will be joined!

19 December 2005 (Mon) 7:00 p.m.
Agnes B Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre,
2 Harbour Road Wanchai,
Hong Kong Island,
Hong Kong

Movie Title: Let it be
Directed by Yen Lan Chun, Cres Juang (Taiwan, 2004)
In Mandarin, Southern Fukienese with English subtitles, Running Time: 110 min.

WTO – this invisible giant monster is showing its teeth; waving its claws, just like the time when the sky was overcastted by the dark clouds of the evil, and these old farmers are just like defenseless orphans …… Would the mainstream society cares about them? Is the government aware of them? Let us ask ourselves, have we ever thought of their existence …… Have we or have we not sometimes filled our rice bowl with more then we would have needed, have a couple of scoops, and then left 1,500 rice grains to waste in that lonely rice bowl …… Even so, I still believe that the farmers shall survive, simply because they know how to feed……

20 December 2005 (Tue) 7:00 p.m.
Agnes B Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre,
2 Harbour Road Wanchai,
Hong Kong Island,
Hong Kong
Movie Title: Home where the Yellow Banners Fly
Made by Video Station of the Old Districts = Video Power + Urban Renewal Monitor (Hong Kong, 2003-2005)
In Cantonese with English subtitles, Running Time: 128 min.

No matter how is it being portrayed, the concern of the anti-globalisation movements is to acknowledge and to actualize the local struggles and their distinctive characters. Therefore, for the closing of the festival, we located and screen this documentary about the experiences, livings and growth of the residents of Wanchai in their years of struggle against the “urban renewal” project in Wanchai which challenged their livings……Right where the yellow banners fly……Their home within the H15 renewal plot.

On the Movies:

Let it be
The 75 years old rice grower said
Working the fields is ascetic to him
The gusty wind, the scorching sun ……
Sometimes, the thundering storm
Farmers have no way to resist
Zen – teaches you how not to resist
You accept it willingly
Farmers always accept it so
Sitting silently, meditating silently ……
Like a Buddhist monk practicing Zen
The labor of the farmers is practicing Zen silently
Season to season
Winter to winter, good or bad
Expecting for the harvest to come
Just like those who catches fishes in the past
If there is no catch in this pond, then change to another pond
There is always a chance for a big catch
Expecting so
Farmers are expecting so ……
Let it be, let it be
Relax your heart, not too much worries
And we say ……Let it be

In Taiwan, we have a saying, “Money is flooding up to the ankles of Taiwan”, which is to tell of how rich Taiwan is. We want to invented a new saying, “Rice is flooding up to the ankles of Taiwan” to celebrate the maturity of the agricultural technology of Taiwan.

In this mountainous island of Taiwan without many plains, the population density ranked first around the world, how are these 2,000,000 mouths to be fed? Maybe not many people have thought of this question. Rice is the main food provision in Taiwan. Not only just produced enough for its own demands, Taiwan actually supplied more then its demand, did anyone appreciate such an extraordinary achievement? We should thank the dedicated rice farmers who always work industriously.

Let it be, documented the hard work and livings of three old rice farmers at the Houbi Village of Tainan County which is one of the largest rice growing region of Taiwan. Sparkling drops of sweats and grains of rice have been with them for decades. Through their hard work and livings, we could appreciate the wisdom of life. Also, we come to understand how subtle it is between, human and human, human and animals, human and gods, human and heaven, human and earth, to share this world, between heaven and earth, between sadness and happiness. Eventually, they shall be accomplished.

Under the sun, with the straw hat on his head, the old farmer is walking on the dyke with his bare feet. This path, this is the path he has been trekking, day after day, year after year. Pulling the weeds while stepping on mud, drops of sweat are flowing down his chin, through his body and finally melted into the earth that he has just fertilized yesterday. Looking at the setting sun, his eyes were filled by the luscious green of the stem and the sparkling gold of the budding grains in the glory of the sun, and the winkled face of the old farmer is expecting …… Such a scene, maybe if we turn around carelessly, will never be seen again ……

Home where the Yellow Banners Fly

Throughout the experiences of, buying off; eviction; demolition, re-development seems to have become the standard practice for “urban renewal” in the past years.

However, the Urban Renewal Authority have turn a blind eye on their proclaimed mission to, to revitalise through enhancing and strengthening the socio-economic and environmental fabric for the benefit of our urban communities; to preserve by maintaining and restoring buildings of historical and architectural value, and to sustain local characteristics.

On the other hand, the Wanchai residents believe that there must be a way to actualize the “People Centred” urban renewal strategy introduced by the Urban Renewal Authority. The looked to different directions for information and inspirations, consulting views and ideas from different professionals; visiting universities and institutes; looking for examples local and aboard, and they found that successful development experiences actualizing “preserve and renew” is everywhere to be found.

Therefore, they organized, neighborhood assemblies, town planning workshop with specific details; public consultations; open exhibitions on the street; cell group meetings and visiting families and shops in the area. With these, they come to understand the problems that the neighborhood is facing in this “urban renewal” and their hopes on the development of the district. Finally, after numerous consultations; discussions and modifications, they submitted their own unprecedented town planning proposal for the area to the Town Planning Board worked out by the neighborhood.
The Town Planning Board had not accepted their proposal on technical reasons while acknowledging the participation of the neighborhood. But we think: a society where one cannot even have a saying on their own home cannot be a truly “democratic” society. And we also believe: a true “civil society” could only be realized when every citizen are actively expressing their thoughts and enter into discussions. Thus, the foundation of democracy will then be concretely based with authentic local meanings.