28th August 2013
HK Movie “The Way We Dance” Bring us “Our Hong Kong Dream”
As the social ideology moves away from “Greater China (Unification)” to “Localism”, Hong Kong’s movie industry has begun to refocus on the local market instead of the Greater China market. Around a decade ago, famous Hong Kong directors and loaded producers flocked to China to make movies: armors, ancient outfits, martial arts, blockbusters and celebrities. Famous actors all wanted to take part in masturbation movies, including “The Founding of a Republic”, as they worried that they would miss out from the movies that are set to brown nose the Communist Party. In the recent few years, however, small budget and local focused movies began to thrive again, for example Echoes of the Rainbow, A Simple Life and Vulgaria. These movies did not only enjoyed the fame of being good productions but also made substantial box office. Even the blockbusters, like Cold War, have adapted again the style of Hong Kong’s traditional police movies. Because of the line “Rule of law is a core value of Hong Kong”, Cold War was widely supported by Hong Kong netizens.
Although “local movies” began to gain popularity again, it was certainly a surprise that The Way We Dance started a storm in Hong Kong. With close to no celebrities, minimal investments, absence of dramatic scene, The Way We Dance focuses on street dance. It’s about teenagers who dance Hip Hop, something many Hong Kongers have no understanding nor interest in. How could it possibly be successful let alone make money? What were the director and producer thinking? However, once you sit down at the cinema, even if you are not young, do not like street dance, and have no idea about street dance, you will be touched. It’s simply because we have all been young, we all had dreams, we all tried or wanted to seek our dreams. One cannot help but be touched by the passion the characters in the movies have and that of the director, producers and all the individuals involved.
Inspiring yet not old-school, full of energy, youth, friendship and love. A young dancer who lost one leg asked the leading lady “how far are you willing to go for dance?” This movie is based on a teenager Tommy Guns’ true story. Even though one of his legs was amputated, he insists on practicing street dance which requires tremendous amount of strength and energy, only because this is what he wants. It could be for dancing, but also for other things.
The willpower of willing to give up everything for what one dreams for, including giving up the values implemented by the adults: You won’t make a living by dancing on the street? Why don’t you go study harder?
In the movie, the youngsters go to the extreme for their dreams: they disregard all the differences and conflicts between individuals and groups, unlike many adults who aren’t very forgiving.
The Way We Dance reminds me of Scolarism and the pan-democrats in Hong Kong, reminds me of the older generations’ obsession over Greater China Unification and the younger generations’ localism, reminds me of Leung Chi-tso (or Liang Qichao)’s essay The Young China which was written in 1900. The essay still stimulates thoughts nowadays.
Leung’s young China dream was written 113 years ago. It was very different from the Communist’s China Dream (Xi Jinping recently made comments about his China Dream).
The Way We Dance tells us that as long as we follow our dreams, there is nothing impossible. The movie and Scholarism have waken up me, a pessimistic old man, and my “young Hong Kong dream”. What is Hong Kongers’ dream? A couple of days ago was the 50th anniversary of the day Martin Luthar King delivered his “I have a dream” speech. The US Consulate General asked the people of Hong Kong on Facebook, “What is your dream?” Over 90% of the respondents said “Hong Kong independence”.
Hong Kong independence, although in the eyes of the older generations and China, is indeed a that cannot be achieved. However, based on the recent public opinion polls, the younger generations in Hong Kong seem to have the determination to fulfill this dream, just like Tommy Guns, even if they loose a leg, they’ll continue to realise their dream. Just like Leung Chi-tso said “nothing is impossible”.
Li Yee (a public affairs commentator)