This film is part of Free

A Gate of China

Staggering views of 1920s Hong Kong capture the contradictory cocktail of East meets West on this outpost island.

Documentary 1927 9 mins Silent


Hong Kong is a land of extreme contrasts: its geography and architecture, its business and demographics. This British Instructional documentary captures these contrasts beautifully, with its jaw-dropping photography (if not its rather colonialist intertitles). The view down the teeming hillside street, flanked by high-rise balconies glimpsing the domestic lives within, is simply stunning.

The film offers a brief history of the colonisation of Hong Kong from the perspective of 1920s Britain, focusing on the various developments made to the island under British control - the building of dwellings, business-houses, law courts, municipal buildings, churches and roads. It also describes the constant struggle to reclaim the land from the encroaching China Sea, and protect the island from formidable typhoons.