In 2019, Hong Kong was rocked by clashes between government police forces and pro-Democracy citizens. "Faceless" is an intimate and raw film following four anonymous - and young - protesters in Hong Kong. They have taken up the fight to safeguard their way of life and individual freedoms from the Goliath that is authoritarian China.
Hong Kong has always been highly unique. It is both a city and a "special administrative region” of China. It was a colony of the United Kingdom from 1841 until 1997, when the Hong Kong handover occurred, with the UK returning Hong Kong to the Chinese. The Chinese government promised that for the next 50 years (2047), Hong Kong would remain an autonomous region and not be subject to much intervention from China. It has different ideologies, more personal freedoms, its own currency, passport and legal system.
Hong Kong has always been one of the eight major global financial centers, along with Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Zurich, London and New York City. It is one of the world's most luxurious, highly urbanized and developed cities. It is also home to the most billionaires living in one city, and despite having one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, there is a vast financial divide separating the rich and poor.
However, over the last 22+ years since the handover, China has slowly forgotten the promise of leaving Hong Kong autonomous until 2047, leading to civil unrest and protests from the citizens of Hong Kong, particularly the youth. 2014's Umbrella Movement, for example, was a series of protests against China's decision to reform Hong Kong's electoral system, requiring that Beijing needed to pre-screen anyone running for the position of Chief Executive of Hong Kong.
Beijing then passed a new Hong Kong national security law which included extradition laws that threatened to send Hongkongers to mainland China for actions that were allowed under the handover agreement. Our four protesters get ready, each masked to the hilt, that in today's post-COVID world seem normal. However, back in 2019, they wore these masks, helmets, and shin and arm guards to protect themselves from getting recognized by the authorities, the tear gas, and as armor against police brutality.
Each faceless protester tells their story. The cameras follow them right into the middle of the protests and the ensuing chaos, danger and frenzy, documenting their pro-democracy struggle so that everyone can see what they are up against. They are only known as The Artist, the Believer, the Daughter and the Student. Each has a different background and personality, yet they share the same conviction: they won't ever yield to an authoritarian government and allow their rights and freedoms to be trampled on by China.
Meanwhile, the war continues between the continuation of Hong Kong's peaceful way of life in true democratic freedom and the one-China envisions for them.