We Are Alive

We Are Alive

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Yau Ching / Hong Kong / 2010 / 101min / Cantonese, Japanese and English / English and Chinese Subtitles

Invited to: Taiwan Documentary Biennial, Berlin Asia Film Festival (Special Feature), Hong Kong Independent Film Festival 2010, Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival (Yunfest), Pure Movies Film Festival in sixteen cities in China incl. Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu and others

This experimental documentary are edited from footage recorded mostly by teens from detention centers of Macau and Hong Kong, and a welfare institution in Japan, who participated in media workshops led by Yau Ching. Against all odds they tell stories of growing up and 101 ways to stay alive. The teenagers use very basic media equipment to express their fears and uncensored desires and try to re-imagine their lives as meaningful, in a deadpan style and with constant references to popular culture they thrive on. This video allows us to not only gain a fresh understanding of these jailed teens’ fascinating life stories told from their unique perspectives and in their own languages full of playfulness and frustration but also captivates its viewers in a prison-like visual experience for us to emotionally and psychologically relate to them. It seeks to push its audience to reflect upon the impossibly contradictory environments our youths experience growing up today, the groundwork which makes up what we call “modern civility”, and the ways in which we have been, are, and could be alive.


Q and A with Yau Ching, Hong Kong Film Festival, New York, April 2016

Zhang, Zhen (2023) “’We Are Alive’: Minor Transnationalism and Yau Ching’s Queer Experimental Filmmaking,” Women Filmmakers in Sinophone World Cinema. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 221-250. ISBN 9789463729352. https://www.jstor.org/stable/jj.6557183.11; https://doi.org/10.2307/jj.6557183.11

Yau, Ching (2012) “Many and Two of (a) Kin(d): An Imaginary Dialogue with Hong Kong Independent Filmmaker Yau Ching.” Chinese History and Society (Berliner China-Hefte) Issue 40 (Aug): 127-137, Berlin: Freie Universität

Yau, Ching (2008) “Performing Contradictions, Performing Bad-Girlness in Japan.” In Kathy E. Ferguson and Monique Mironesco (eds.), Gender and Globalization in Asia and the Pacific: Method, Practice, Theory. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 211-244 [Book review by Susan Dewey, Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 10(4), May, 334-337]

Hong Kong Independent Film Festival Opening, 2010. [Video: Director’s Interview]

Hong Kong Women Filmmakers Database

Subtitles for We Are Alive


Denise Tse-Shang Tang (2017) “Feeling alive: Voices of incarcerated youth in We Are Alive.” Crime Media Culture, Vol 13, Issue 2, pp. 153-170.

Eve Ng, “The Work of Hong Kong Filmmaker Yau Ching,” 09/06/2013

Interview with Yau Ching–Bad kids: Leaving a message for their future selves,” eRenLai Magazine: an Asian-Pacific Magazine of cultural, social and spiritual concerns, November 2010

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