Filmed between 2011-2012, Lessons in Dissent follows highschool student Joshua Wong and his former schoolmate, Ma Jai, as they lead a protest against the proposed National Education curriculum in Hong Kong's schools, which they reject as patriotic indoctrination. Ma Jai (17), is a school dropout active in the League of Social Democrats; while Wong (15) founds ‘Scholarism’ to fight the proposals, but soon gets swept into the media spotlight. While both are arrested for their actions, the unprecedented protests ultimately succeed in making the patriotic curriculum optional rather than compulsory. Meanwhile, Wong and Scholarism have gone on to become formidable voices in Hong Kong’s democracy movement.
This film is part of Asia and the Pacific Screens Season Four: Roots & Routes, sponsored by the Australian Centre on China in the World.
Directed by Matthew Torne
2014, 98 mins, Hong Kong/UK
Cantonese & English with English subtitles