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Inside the Red Brick Wall

Inside the Red Brick Wall

In 2019, the world was captivated by pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Demonstrators, many with colorful umbrellas, faced teargas and rubber bullets for calling to an end to increasing Chinese control of Hong Kong.

INSIDE THE RED BRICK WALL takes us into the heart of one of these protests: the two-week occupation and siege of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Filmed by an anonymous collective, the film captures the cat-and-mouse game played by protesters and police in the early days of the siege, followed by days filled with helplessness and desperation, as the demonstrators attempt to escape without being arrested and brutalized.

Wearing gas masks and construction hardhats or bike helmets, their faces blurred by the filmmakers, protesters deal with fatigue, dwindling supplies, and arguments over strategy. Some medics and journalists decide to walk out. Others make a break for it and are chased down and beaten by police. Those left behind face a dilemma. Should they fight their way out? Wait for support from protesters outside? Or leave surreptitiously through sewers? Matters are complicated when a group claiming to be high-school principals turns up, encouraging those under 18 to surrender and promising them safe passage. Just whose interests do they represent?

INSIDE THE RED BRICK WALL is remarkable as a document of the siege and the government’s response—but also for its stunning visuals including protesters in gas masks asleep on concrete steps, smashed plate-glass windows and graffiti reading “Liberty or Death” behind them; clothes and hardhats arranged on the ground to spell out “SOS”; and a young woman leaning, exhausted, against a wall of tiles recognizing university donors. Made without commentary, INSIDE THE RED BRICK WALL captures the urgency and chaos of the protests.

This film is a companion to TAKING BACK THE LEGISLATURE, made by the same anonymous collective.

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