The easy-listening Doobie Brothers lineup was far from my favorite incarnation of the ’70s party band. So I can’t claim a good excuse for evoking Michael McDonald’s earnestly ineffectual vocals in service to the people-powered movements on the march in this week’s films. But as a wise man once said, “You go to war with the song lyrics you have, not the song lyrics you wish you had.”
As I write this, it’s unclear which Americans—masked or unmasked, armed or unarmed, elated or angry, celebratory or destructive—will mark the Election Day results by heading out to the main drag for some group therapy. Let’s maintain a bit of perspective: It’s a signpost on the road to justice.
We Have Boots
When Britain’s 99-year lease of Hong Kong ended in 1997 and the sophisticated territory was transferred back to China, change was certain. The speed of that change, however, along with the reaction of the populace, were enormous unknowns. In retrospect, it’s not surprising that China has gradually and inexorably exerted its will on Hong Kong’s political and cultural institutions. The shocker, though, is the emergence of an organized resistance largely led and fueled by young people.
We Have Boots, Evans Chan’s new follow-up to his 2016 documentary, Raise the Umbrellas, is an unequivocally sympathetic recounting of the last several years of protests, augmented with sit-down interviews with most of the opposition leaders. There’s something endearing about Chan’s heroes (and the rare heroine), whose idealism far surpasses their strategizing. Their adherence to principles is extraordinarily inspiring, especially in stark contrast to waves of riot police whaling away at unarmed civilians.