The Life and Times of Wu Zhong Xian 吳仲賢的故事: Synopsis
About a radical generation that includes John Woo
Student rebels, labor organizers, Trotskyites, anarchists, sojourners in Paris, and human rights activists are the cast of real life characters featured in The Life and Times of Wu Zhong Xian. Based on a stage play, this DV feature traces the poignant trajectory of a rebel whose dream of world revolution first landed him in battles against British colonialism in the 70s, and later, on his death bed in the mid-90s, in agonies over the uncertain fate of a revitalized China. Revealing a little known chapter of rebellion and idealism, Wu Zhong Xian also delves into the radical roots of a generation that included a budding filmmaker named John Woo. Written collectively by Mok Chiu Yu and friends who were close associates of Wu, the play was premiered in the Handover year of Hong Kong in 1997, then traveled to New York's Theatre for the New City in 1998, where the Village Voice hailed it as a "fascinating account" of a radical activist. Veteran independent filmmaker Evans Chan, who initially adapted the play for the New York stage, now offers a Digital Video version that incorporates extensive archival footage, including excerpts from Woo's experimental short "Deadknot." The Life and Times of Wu Zhong Xian is a timely, resonant docu-drama for today's Hong Kong, China and our ideologically-disillusioned era.
"No one seeking to understand the historical origins and significance of the massive public protests (involving some 500,000 demonstrators) that took place in Hong Kong on July 1, 2003, against the HK government's proposed "anti-subversion" legislation can afford to miss this fascinating new film." (Robin Munro, former director of Human Rights Watch/Hong Kong-China office)
-- Village Voice
"The Life and Times of Wu Zhong Xian is political theatre at its most gently lyric and bio-drama at its most warmly elegiac.
-- New York Theatre Wire
"Through Wu's life story, Mok gives a vivid picture of Hong Kong's radical student movements from the 1970s on...this emotionally charged production induces the audience to reflect on the possibility that their lives are complacent."
-- South China Morning Post
"Unique and excellent…Through the story of Wu Zhong Xian, the drastic changes befallen Hong Kong from the '70s to the 90s are commented on, laughed at, ridiculed or criticized ruthlessly."
-- Ming Pao