Blue Island 憂鬱之島@The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester

  • Thu, Mar 23, 2023 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • The International Anthony Burgess Foundation

    3 Cambridge Street, Manchester
    Manchester, Lancashire M1 5BY
Ticket Price (GBP) £8.00 This event is now over



These are all stories of youth. A young man preferred to risk swimming across the raging sea towards a safe haven in order to avoid being caught up in the Cultural Revolution on the mainland. Another young man resisting colonialism was imprisoned for printing patriotic periodicals during the riots, and was long forgotten by the country after his release. A third youth went to Beijing to support students' demands for freedom, only to see their dreams and bodies crushed under the treads of tanks. 

The beliefs and ideals held by each generation are eventually submerged by the deluge of history. How do these generations recall, confront, and narrate their irreversible fates?

The film documents three real-life characters who engaged in rebellions when they were young. Through reconstructing these events, the film dramatises their scarred memories and experiences by showcasing the stories of four young people who participated in the 2019 Anti-extradition Law Amendment Movement in Hong Kong. These real protagonists are separated by time and history, yet their lives parallel and overlap, because they have similarly defiant backgrounds and find themselves the same chaotic predicaments. 

Images flow between documentary and drama, blending archival materials, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, weaving an expansive tapestry that encompasses these tumultuous eras… 

How do the young people of this city envision their future today? What do they think about this seemingly unwinnable revolution?  







  • Best international feature(outspoken outstanding) at hotdocs 2022 
  • Comcast Xfinity Documentary Competition award at CAAMFEST 2022


Selected in:

  • Official selection at MIFF 2022
  • Official selection at BFI London Film Festival 2022
  • Official selection International Film festival Rotterdam 2022
  • Official selection at New directors New Films 2022
  • Taiwan International Documentary Festival 2022


Director's Statement:

I was born in the very last decade of Britain’s colonial rule over Hong Kong. Along with a population full of trepidation about the impending transfer of sovereignty to China, I grew up under a shroud of uncertainty. The accompanying political and social upheavals prompted me to embark on an exploration of the nuances of 'Hongkongers' collective identity. The intertwining destinies of Hong Kong and China is therefore a topic close to my heart.

My conception of this film emerged during the low tide right after the Umbrella Movement of 2014. Shrouded in a collective feeling of failure and hopelessness, I considered seeking out people who experienced other major historic events in Hong Kong. I wondered if, through reminiscences of their experiences, we could explore the universality of the plight of civic activism.

As the project proceeded, this impression of a sweeping atmosphere of melancholy on an isolated island became even more pronounced. Especially following the Anti-extradition Law Movement in 2019, the title Blue Island suits even better the limbo we now find ourselves in.

This is a story about those generations who have contemplated the nature of Hong Kong and their identities as Hongkongers, but are depressed by their inability to shape the city's fate. This kind of disillusionment is a universal tether that binds all of us together.







Director’s Biography: 

Chan Tze Woon is a Hong Kong-based director and writer. Born 1987 and raised in this city, his debut feature-length documentary Yellowing (2016) examined the Umbrella Movement, a large-scale civil occupation in 2014. This documentary explored Hong Kong's fraught relationship with mainland China. It won the Shinsuke Ogawa Prize at the 2017 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2016 Taipei Golden Horse Film Awards.

Chan's first two short films, The AqueousTruth (2013) and Being Rain: Representation and Will (2014), both broached the subject of HongKong's political situation by means of conspiracy plots and mockumentary form.

Blue Island is Chan's second feature-length film.


他的首部紀錄長片《亂世備忘》( 2016 )記錄雨傘運動,奪得山形國際紀錄片影展的「小川紳介獎」,亦入圍金馬獎最佳紀錄片、2020年鹿特丹國際影展等。

過去創作一直嘗試模糊記錄劇情的界線,短片作品《香港人不知道的》( 2013 )、《作為雨水:表象及意志》( 2014 )亦以偽紀錄片方式切入香港的政治景況。《憂鬱之島》為他第二部長片作品。

Date & Time

Thu, Mar 23, 2023 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Venue Details

The International Anthony Burgess Foundation

3 Cambridge Street, Manchester
Manchester, Lancashire M1 5BY The International Anthony Burgess Foundation
Hong Kong Film Festival UK

The Hong Kong Film Festival UK, HKFF (UK), aims to shine an international spotlight on Hong Kong’s creativity and humanity through film. The festival also strives to promote cultural interactions and exchanges between Hong Kong communities and UK citizens. Hong Kong’s world-renowned cinema was born out of its unique history and rich social context. Building on this vivid and eclectic history, the Festival aims to introduce a new wave of Hong Kong cinema that has blossomed in an era of drastic transformation. It is time to tell Hong Kong’s story again, to preserve and promote Hong Kong's cultural heritage, and to reflect on the city's enchanting, complex, and challenging reality from a fresh perspective.

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