We Have Boots
(Ngor moon yau yu her)
Cosponsored by the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley School of Law
“Through the human faces of some key participants, in We Have Boots I’ve tried to show Hong Kong’s traumatizing journey during the last few years that led up to this moment. And I hope the film will spur audiences to think about the universality of western values, global solidarity, and the meaning of the rise of China in this age of polarizing global capitalism.”—Evans Chan
Hong Kong is in the position of being both postcolonial and colonized, but the tenacious democratic aspirations of this semi-autonomous Chinese city astonished the world in the campaign for universal suffrage and human rights known as the Umbrella Movement of 2014, and again in the recent conflicts that drew two million people into the streets in 2019. Then the world moved on. In this essential film, veteran director Evans Chan puts us back in the center of the action in harrowing street footage and in affecting portraits, in their own words, of the movements’ intellectual leaders and street combatants: determined, articulate, funny, less vulnerable than their masked or fresh faces would imply. They face imprisonment, exile, loss of positions, political disqualifications, and police repression for their beliefs. But the future is theirs: the democracy movement may morph, but it won’t die. In the words of one movement founder, “Don’t think because you imprison all the roosters the sun won’t rise.”
Raise the Umbrellas
Evans Chan, United States, Hong Kong, 2016
Like We Have Boots, Raise the Umbrellas is part of filmmaker and playwright Evans Chan’s effort to document Hong Kong’s political trajectory in a series of films that, in his words, “summarize issues, provide historical perspective, and hopefully dig into corners of the interviewees’ psyches.” Raise the Umbrellas traces the origins of the 2014 Umbrella Movement in pro-democracy struggles dating to Hong Kong’s time under British colonial rule. Interviews with longtime activists and emerging student leaders reveal the broad and at times uneasy coalition that came together to occupy the streets, while gay Cantonpop singers, young women student leaders, and “umbrella mothers” reveal the necessity of democracy for marginalized voices. Their words are intercut with dances and songs—including the movement anthem that gives the film its title—fueled by the urgency of the protests and the creativity of artists.