To say Joshua Wong is a remarkable individual would be an understatement. Already gracing the cover of Time magazine, as “the face of protest,” at age 18, he displayed a gift from a young age for sorting through complex issues and finding concrete solutions. Wong is living proof that a clear message and resilience can help to motivate thousands of people to political action. This sense of inspiration can be felt all throughout Joe Piscatella’s crowd-pleaser Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower.
Piscatella’s David versus Goliath tale focuses on two key protests that Wong, founder of the student activism group known as Scholarism, was involved in that directly related to the promises made when the British handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. Despite claiming support for “one country, two systems” China tried to institute a national education reform that would plant the seeds of communism. Wong, using the tools of the occupy movement, encouraged his fellow students to act. Though they won that battle a bigger war was looming as China’s President Xi Jinping was already in the process of ensuring people in Hong Kong could only vote for a leader from a list he provided.
Following Wong’s initial student movement as it grows and merges with the Occupy Central movement, Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower taps into the proud sense of identity that modern youth of Hong Kong carry. While Piscatella does not dwell on Wong’s personal life, or how it fuels the young man’s almost robotic approach to activism, but it is clear his fight is more important than the fame it has bestowed on him. Willing to do whatever is needed for the cause, Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower is a celebration of an extraordinary teenager we could all learn a lesson from.
Wednesday, May 3, 6:30 PM, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Thursday, May 4, 4:15 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Friday, May 5, 7:00 PM, Hart House
Sunday, May 7, 1:00 PM, Toronto Centre for the Arts
Tickets can be purchased at the Hot Docs website.