DENISE HO: BECOMING THE SONG
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Dir. Sue Williams |USA |2020 |83 min. |NR
In English and Cantonese with English subtitles
Discovered by legendary Cantopop songstress and actress Anita Mui in her teens in a singing contest, Denise Ho became one of Mui’s disciples and songwriters before her solo career started to rise. She came out to the world as a proud lesbian in 2012 at the Hong Kong Pride Parade, the first major female star in Hong Kong to come out as gay. In 2014, at the height of her career, she started to publicly support the students who were demanding free elections during the Umbrella Movement (when protesters held up umbrellas to fight off tear gas). Her influential involvement at the forefront of the pro-democracy uprisings led to her arrest during a clearing of protest camps—and the financial and social cost to her was enormous. Ho was blacklisted by Mainland China, and her music banned. Major commercial and luxury sponsors like Lancôme dropped her as well, colleagues feared to be associated with her—and to this day, venues around the world are afraid to allow her to perform.
In 2017, director Sue Williams began to follow and film Denise Ho when she toured the U.K. and North America as an independent artist, attempting to rebuild her career while continuing to take to the streets with protestors and remaining vocal about freedom of speech and protecting civil liberties. She has also recently addressed both the United Nations and the U.S. Congress, pleading for international help and making it clear that Hong Kong’s struggle is a universal fight for freedom and democracy.
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