For many people especially in the UK, the knowledge and understanding of what happened in Hong Kong in 2019 is nothing short of lacking. Unless you went out of your way to look for news articles. It never made huge headline news daily, in fact, I cannot remember a single BBC news segment airing at the time. So, I feel for many who go into this documentary, what they are about to witness will be nothing short of shocking. If We Burn is a colossal documentary that is 4 hours and 30 minutes and covers a huge amount of the 2019 Hong Kong protest surrounding the extradition bill. Its running time shouldn’t put you off however as It’s a film that showcases what it truly means to fight for democracy and freedom. It shows what many were willing to do to protect their lively hood from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
It documents normal people of all ages from young teenagers to the elderly who sacrificed everything for what they believed in. The film perfectly brings to light what the protests meant for the people of Hong Kong in a way that is simply beautiful but on the flip side with beauty comes horror and seeing the way police beat and violently attack people is nothing short of an awaking. It echoed a lot with what American BLM protestors were facing but on a more extreme scale. The film isn’t afraid to showcase brutality in a way that is truly horrifying, which for some could be distressing to watch but for me highlights what happened in a truly authentic way that isn’t glossy or nice to appeal to a wider audience. If We Burn is nothing short of the best documentary I have ever seen! It’s breathtaking, beautiful, haunting and shows what Hong Kongers were willing to sacrifice for freedom which I know from my personal experience is an act of bravery, not many people are willing to do. This documentary should skyrocket to the top of your watchlist.