Happy Valley (2020)
Happy Valley Simon Liu Hong Kong SAR16mm > digital 12.5 min 2020
British Colonial-era structures overlook scenes in the aftermath of civil unrest as Hong Kongers work to retain some semblance of normality. The sound of petty arguments from local TVB soap operas of the 80s are put in concert with captive animals, political graffiti, and desolate highways. Suspension cables and ship anchor lines reveal a fragile urban anatomy: the structures that keep the city moving along. As civic functions grind to a halt, the limits of our control come into view. As the days teeter toward an uncertain future, Happy Valley cinematically probes the role of the so-called “little things.” A rendering of the perseverance of spirit in Hong Kong—an attempt at irony that can’t help but be emotional. – Simon Liu
This film is available to stream globally.
This film is co-presented with Movimcat.
Image credits: all artworks, stills, and portraits courtesy of the artist © Simon Liu.
about the artist
Simon Liu (Hong Kong SAR) is a filmmaker and visual artist born in 1987. He spent his childhood between Stoke-On-Trent, UK and Hong Kong. Working in alternative documentary, abstract diary films, multi-channel video installation, and 16mm projection performances, Liu’s recent work has been described as surveying “the psychogeography of Hong Kong as a feverish dreamscape, activating charged sites of recent civic upheaval, personal heritage, and postcolonial legacies.” He received a BFA in Film & TV Production from New York University Tisch School of the Arts (2010). He has completed 15+ films since 2008, which have screened at festivals, museums, and galleries internationally, including Stanford University, Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Kyiv International Short Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art, Cinéma du Réel, New York Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Viennale, and Jeonju International Film Festival. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including Grand Prix Documentary Short Award, Cork International Film Festival (2020); Best EXiS Award, EXiS Festival (2019, 2021); Best Experimental Short Film, Melbourne International Film Festival; Barbara Aronofsky Latham Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival; Dada International Award, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma; and Jury Special Mentions from Punto de Vista Festival, European Media Art Festival, and Taiwan International Documentary Festival (2021). He has been awarded grants from the New York State Council on the Arts (2018), Jerome Foundation (2019–2021), and The Shed’s Open Call commission program (2021). Writing about his practice has appeared in Hyperallergic, South China Morning Post, Mubi, NANG Magazine, and Cinema Scope. His work is in private and public collections including M+ Museum and The Museum of Modern Art. Liu is currently working on his debut feature, Staffordshire Hoard. He is a member of Negativeland, a film laboratory dedicated to the creative use of photochemical motion picture film. He teaches at the Cooper Union and lives in Brooklyn, New York.