OUR TIME WILL COME
Directed by Ann Hui
Official Selection, 2017 Shanghai International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 New York Asian Film Festival
Ann Hui (The Golden Era, SDAFF ’14) continues her exploration of the ways art and turbulent history press against each other. Set in 1941, Japanese-occupied Hong Kong is filled with crushing poverty which, instead of breeding humanity’s worst, gives us people vibrating with possibility and gusto. Inspired by the writer Mao Dun’s revolutionary clique, schoolteacher Fang Lan (Zhou Xun) transforms into a guerrilla leader in league with a dashing Blackie Lau (a spirited Eddie Peng) and a handsome double-agent (Wallace Huo). Between covert missions, Fang Lan’s talks with her mother reveal an equally political interior space: two women wrangling with difficult choices out of heartbreaking love for each other.
This is a Hong Kong in heady and urgent times akin to Peking Opera Blues or Casablanca, a future fought for bullet by bullet by lionhearted underdogs and small insurrections. It’s a Hong Kong of secretaries, bargirls, and elderly mothers ferrying stacks of handprinted flyers beneath occupiers’ noses, shepherding Chinese intellectuals and activists to safety.
OUR TIME WILL COME depicts a perpetually occupied Hong Kong, an island which survives through persistent selfless resistance at every level, and a spirit of collective underground effort. Released on the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover to China, the depiction of community verve is pointed. The narrator (a fabulous Tony Leung Ka-fai) is a former resistance fighter, now an aging and poor taxi driver, underscoring the political legacies still to fulfill. A swashbuckling spy thriller rooted in history and the pathos of the present, OUR TIME WILL COME is a film for all, with heroism ranging from everyday to legendary, and epic poetry for epic times. –Christina Ree