On the rare occasions they take a break from pushing up property prices and cramming more tourists into the city, Hong Kong’s leaders declare their fervent visionary desire for economic diversification. This tends to mean inno-green-bio-whizz-bang R&D tech hub zones, but sometimes they hint at ‘creative and cultural’ industries.
Emphasis on ‘hint’. Officials are nervous of creativity and culture. And with good reason: distributors won’t touch local movies because the Communist Party doesn’t like the plots, authors are banned from cultural events because a pro-Beijing tycoon runs the forum, book-publishers are abducted to the Mainland, and live music venues are raided and closed down for not paying rent to the government’s landlord buddies.
To officials, the only safe cultural activity is a real-estate project. The latest burst of artistic energy at the West Kowloon Culture Hub Zone concerns an attempt to link two promenades – one at the hub-zone and one 400 metres away at nearby Olympic Station. The genius aesthetes designing this seriously propose a ground-level pedestrian walkway less than 5 feet wide. Or, they add, you can have an inconvenient elevated link costing hundreds of millions.
Among all this, creativity is an alien intruder. The following is a HK Poly U film student project by Manny Leung, combining satire (note references to Lei Feng, Liu Xiaobo and Tank Man), some pretty decent tongue-in-cheek low-budget special effects (one of which almost looks like Nury Vittachi), some nice brief use of real news footage, and much more…