Described as a ‘virus of the mind’ by China’s Global Times, Ten Years proved hugely controversial for its dystopian vision of Hong Kong in the year 2025. Yet, the film’s critique of Mainland rule was only the beginning of the controversy. Despite being hugely popular with local audiences, the movie was swiftly pulled from local cinemas – supposedly after pressure from Beijing. This, in turn, resulted in 40 public screenings in defiance of this supposed suppression of the film.
The controversy deepened when Ten Years was nominated for (and subsequently won) Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV announced it would not air the awards and online news sites like Sina and Tencent made no mention of Ten Years when listing details of the awards. Furthermore, Apple Daily claims directors involved with the project have been unofficially blacklisted. Kiwi Chow Kwun-wai, who directed the short Self-Immolator, has joked that his involvement with the production ‘self-immolated my own career’.