Be Water: Civil Disobedience and the Fight for Democracy in Hong Kong

A curatorial collaboration with Alex Yong Kang Chow, former Hong Kong student activist sentenced to prison for seven months for his political participation in the 2014 Umbrella Movement and current UC Berkeley Geography Phd student, this program brings together films, performance, and discussion that prioritize the lived experience of protesters. Stuck between its British colonial past and a future ruled by communist China, Hong Kong’s young people are taking to the streets to fight for the autonomy and democracy they were promised. Attitudes to resistance, protest strategy, and tactics differ between generations and the leaderless demonstrators themselves. How do they manage the nuances of building a democratic movement? How are they using creative strategies in the arts, technology, and in the streets, as crucial communication tactics?

Co-Presented by Hong Kong Community Cinema and the Bauhinia Project



The Bauhinia Project was founded by an anonymous poet in 2019 to bring Hong Kong’s struggles to the stage of transnational activism through lyric and language. Our primary work has been to render the testimonies of protesters and ordinary people in Hong Kong–some submitted to an encrypted email and others drawn from “found poem” materials–into English-language poems. The Bauhinia Project has been featured in the Georgia Review, on KPFA Radio, and on KTSF News. We have collaborated with the Oakland Public Libraries, student groups at Berkeley Law, and organizers as far as New York, Canada, and Germany.

Curated by Alex Yong Kang Chow, Susannah Smith, & Robin Abad Ocubillo

CM credits pending

In this program

Old Running Men

Directed by Willis Ho Kit Wang

Grandpa Chan, 73 and Grandpa Wong, 82, run into the mist of teargas and try to protect the…

Migrant Down the Rabbit Hole

Directed by Lee Wai Kwan, Yip Man Hay

Maid Arista, an Indonesian woman in HongKong, falls into a rabbit hole and finds herself reporting the anti-extradition…

Dark silhouettes of people holding umbrellas

Mong Kok First Aid 成年禮

Directed by Mavis Siu

Mong Kok First Aid 成年禮 investigates the experiences and unheard stories of a group of young volunteers who provided First Aid services to wounded participants during Hong Kong’s landmark Umbrella Movement of 2014.

Dates & Times