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Chinese language cinema

Controversial Hong Kong film Ten Years to be shown in cinemas in Japan, and team behind it are thrilled

Film whose dystopian vision of Hong Kong in 2025 angered Beijing to receive its second overseas release, after screening in Taiwan, following ‘fantastic’ reception at Osaka film festival

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 1:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 1:15pm

Controversial Hong Kong film Ten Years is set for a July release in Japan, the film’s makers announced on Facebook this week.

The best picture winner at last year’s Hong Kong Film Awards (HKFA), Ten Years is an anthology of five short films that imagine a bleak Hong Kong social and political landscape in 2025. Its subject matter has drawn scathing attacks from Communist Party paper Global Times, and was the reason the 2016 HKFA awards ceremony was banned from broadcast in China.

The film itself is banned in China. Any mention of it was also prohibited online in China after its best picture win last April.

Since its prematurely ended cinematic run in Hong Kong, during which it took a respectable HK$6 million at the box office, the low-budget independent production has been screened at more than a dozen film festivals overseas. The cinematic release in Japan will mark the second overseas distribution deal for the film, which received a general release in Taiwan last August.

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Negotiations to bring the film to Japan began after its international premiere at the Osaka Asian Film Festival in March 2016, director-producer Ng Ka-leung told SCMP.com on Friday. The film was screened twice in that festival’s Special Focus on Hong Kong section, alongside local titles Lazy Hazy Crazy , Robbery , She Remembers, He Forgets , and Wong Ka Yan .

“That was the first time the film was shown to a Japanese audience, and the reception then was fantastic,” says Ng. “Everyone from the producers to the directors and the distribution company staff is excited about the upcoming release. [It’s unusual] for such a Hong Kong-centric film to reach audiences from so many different countries and inspire so many discussions.

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“While the foreign audiences might not be very familiar with the situation in Hong Kong, we often saw in the post-screening question-and-answer sessions that Ten Years has inspired its viewers to have a refreshed perspective about their own countries. We’re really looking forward to the theatrical release in Japan, and I hope the audience there will be inspired to rethink the future of their country as well.”

Ten Years has been released on DVD and Blu-Ray in Hong Kong.