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27 July 2024: Hong Kong Diaspora: Evans Chan’s To Liv(e)


“Today, when I’m asked where home is for me, I am struck by how far away it is; and yet, home is nowhere else but right here, at the edge of this body of mine.” – Trinh T. Minh-ha, Far Away, From Home, 2011

Curated by Eleanor Lu, this programme celebrates Vertigo, UK’s leading independent film magazine between 1993-2012, that championed the culture of independent moving image. In the spirit of Vertigo, Lu presents a rare screening of To Liv(e), the debut feature of Hong Kong Independent filmmaker Evans Chan alongside events that aim to initiate a conversation around the Hong Kong diasporic experience and politics embedded in the film, especially in relation to the present time.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with UK-based Hong Kong artists who have been invited to compose a creative response to the film.

To Liv(e)
Evans Chan, 1992, 106 min

"...clearly inspired by Bergman's existential angst...and Godard's cinematic experimentation... a unique encounter between East and West..." –  Aftenposten

In 1990, the legendary Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann made a trip to Hong Kong to condemn the city’s “inhumane” deportation of Vietnamese refugees. Filled with sorrow and frustration, Rubie (Lindsay Chan) decides to write a letter to Ullmann in defence of her city, expressing her disappointment at the blind spots of Western liberals and the societal anxiety provoked by the impending handover of Hong Kong to China after the Tiananmen crackdown of 1989.  Meanwhile, Rubie and her loved ones are struggling over the decision to stay or leave the British colony as it confronts an uncertain future.

In 2021, shortly after Beijing's enactment of the National Security Law in the city, the UK launched an immigration scheme allowing British National (Overseas) passport holders and their dependents a visa to live and work in the country for five years, thus opening the door towards permanent residency and citizenship. Within two years, more than 144,000 moved to the UK since the scheme was first launched. The struggles Hongkongers are facing nowadays seem to rhyme with what happened nearly 30 years ago in To Liv(e).

To know more about Evans Chan and his works:

With support from the joint BBK and Open Society University Network (OSUN) project “From Communities into Audiences: Changing Lives through Film”






Hong Kong Diaspora: Evans Chan’s To Liv(e) Saturday 27.07.24 5:00 pm Book