Cockroach Review – Stunning Portrait of AI Weiweino’s Hong Kong Protest | Documentaries

T.That artist I Weiwei is evolving into a well-developed documentary filmmaker, with just two other special credits this year: about the kidnapping of protesting students in Vivos, Mexico, and about the spread of Kovid-19 from Wuhan. But here’s his dynamic and visually stunning cockroach. Other than anything else, it’s a wonderful movie that begins with a breath that made me gasp: a Hong Kong protester is cornered by police on a roof and tries to climb the unsteady scaffolding at the front in an attempt to escape. Building, screaming their alarm with other opponents at street level. The result is heartbreaking.

Cockroach is about the passionate pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, which began with the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders Reform Bill by the pro-Chinese Hong Kong government in 2019, exposing protesters to extradition to the Chinese mainland and destroying them with minimal effectiveness. Hand0 years of judicial independence and autonomy that the people of Hong Kong promised in 1997. The “cockroach” is that opponents feel they are being watched by the Chinese authorities: their sense of democratic independence is ridiculously irrelevant by a growing national government – and the same is true for any human rights. One banner announces that they are moving in the same direction as the Tibetans and Uighurs, and the whole of Hong Kong will become a fiery-earth monument to Beijing’s new obsession with alpha-dog nationalism.

I have a team of camera operators with extraordinary courage shooting 4K digital video, as well as moving around the streets with drones amidst the violence. (This use of drone shots, which is becoming a clichણમાં in every kind of film and television production, with stunning aerial shots, which gives you an understanding of the scope of the protest and the dramatic and tragic dimension of the oppression imposed) is perfectly justified. ) The spectacular scenes of violent riots show you something that night TV news doesn’t show much – and perhaps not yet that Covid has caught our attention: the Hong Kong protests are the most important protests since 1968, or perhaps Paris 1832.

Opponents have been galvanized by the heavy hand and cold imposition of brutal inhumane power, and opponents are often of the non-political type whom we deprive of very lightly: their freedom. They have to wear black and masks (sometimes gas masks) to identify or shed tears, and the police feel like an anti-army, which is banned but also anonymous. Many of the shots show a strange label attached to the officers’ rifle buttons: “Less Lethal”. Will they, at some point soon, tire of their faces-on-stun approach and smash some other rifles marked as “more lethal”?

Cockroach is as easy as Human Flow, I Weiwei’s excellent 2017 film about migration, and it’s something to set up with Cheryl Haynes and Gina Labrech’s 2019 documentary I Weiwei: Euros Touchu, about the installation he directed remotely in the Alcatraz prison building, While under house arrest in Beijing. Cockroach equally stunning visual sense and the same fierce engagement.