Written by Vincent Chui, translated by Jaspa Tang
Quite a number of films that confront current Hong Kong society emerged in recent years. Among these works, young directors especially presented striking creations. They managed to address the concerned issues precisely, along with techniques up to professional standard. All these films, no matter by independent or commercial filmmakers, are a bit too airy, we have yet to find a wild spark in the greens.
Koji Wakamatsu starting rolling his camera at the time of rapid economic growth in post-war Japan and social movements inflamed. The aftermath of the wildfire was a heavy fog prevailing the lost, helpless youth. Wakamatsu started on pink films because of the easy fortune ─ Investors only cared for the portion of pornographic scenes but nothing about rest of the content, according to an interview of his. If every film was a gift box, Wakamatsu would be one who filled his ferocity beneath the pink wrap. Nonetheless, Wakamatsu’s apparent political stance seldom made him deliver an explicit social agenda in his film. He rather presented his defiance through the lens and image sequence, in order to assert their cruel and suppressed youth. Until 2000s, his film United Red Army（2007）portrayed true historical events with vital arguments and commanding struggles in the movement, which appear into controversies likewise in today’s Hong Kong. What makes his film distinct and penetrating was the lifelike portrayal of the characters.
Wakamatsu’s films were such rebels at the time, because of pornography and violence in his works. His masterpiece Secrets Behind the Wall (1965) was selected into the Berlin International Film Festival, but the glory did not return to Japan with him. The Japanese film industry and cultural sector denounced his detour instead, which he never found it critical. Wakamatsu clearly intended to get on audience’s nerves, as he believed film is to stimulate thoughts and reflections by making dispute with viewers. At the same time, he noticed the film industry’s cold attitude towards his independent productions. Facing difficulties in searching cinemas to show his works, Wakamatsu was drove to take a self-sufficient road: at first he continued on independent creations, later he established a cinema specially for independent films in Nagoya. He was almost a radical who demonstrated resistance throughout his film ideologies, productions and distributions.
Looking back on today’s Hong Kong, the movements we have made were far from a riot’s doing compared to those in Japan. What we share is the mood from the times Wakamatsu lived. His films certainly resonate with our youngsters by the same sense of inability and refrained acts. We saw young directors gained appreciation from overseas film festivals and audiences, still the commercial world seldom opened a welcoming door. The point is, how can we swim against the tide? Perhaps this is the time to echo Wakamatsu’s independent spirit: to present our films with uncompromising imagery, and to endure the cinematic revolution opposing this so-called conventional industry.
Early this year, the Hong Kong Independent Film Festival separated the ‘Indie Focus’ section due to limited resources. Now as an extension, here we bring the works by Wakamatsu and Masao Adachi. Their film may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but one should at least take a sip.
2018會員計劃：本節目換票證一張及獨立電影節十年紀念書籍一本 或 本節目換票證兩張 港幣120元
Join us NOW, for Indie Focus Ticket(s) and Souvenir(s)!
You can also enjoy discounts on Indie Focus and YEC film tickets in 2018, and 10% off discount on DVD/ VCD and Indie Focus/ HKindieFF Souvenirs (only purchase in person at YEC office or the counter of screening venues during the programme).
Indie Focus Exchange Coupon x 1 + 10th Anniversary Book x 1
OR Indie Focus Exchange Coupon x 2
If you would like to support Ying E Chi or the distribution of Hong Kong indie films, you may add $200 as donation when checking out. You can join our membership plan via our website, in our office or at the counter of the screening venues during the film festival.