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Film Review: Once Upon a Time in HKDSE 公開試當真 (2024) - Hong Kong

Andrew Chan

Film Review: Once Upon a Time in HKDSE 公開試當真 (2024) - Hong Kong

Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)

“Once Upon a Time in HKDSE” is a poignant and relevant documentary that explores the profound impact of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) examination on the lives of students. Directed by Leung Yik-ho, this film sensitively captures the struggles, dreams, and aspirations of its central characters, Hong and Hui, a former DSE taker turned filmmaker.

The documentary effectively connects with its audience, provoking thoughtful conversations and raising important questions about the pressures faced by young individuals in a highly competitive educational system. It offers a refreshing perspective on a topic often neglected in the adult commercial world.

The production team and interviewees deserve immense credit for their contributions to the film. The documentary is skillfully edited, seamlessly weaving together the narratives of its subjects and capturing the emotional essence of their experiences. The interviews and personal stories shared add depth and authenticity, creating a profound impact on viewers.

“Once Upon a Time in HKDSE” follows Hong's journey as he prepares for the DSE examination, with the support of the team from the popular YouTube Channel "Trial & Error." The film chronicles Hong's efforts to overcome his lack of direction and secure a place in university. This premise provides a compelling exploration of ambition, perseverance, and the pursuit of dreams.

All in all, “Once Upon a Time in HKDSE” is a powerful documentary that sheds light on the challenges faced by Hong Kong students in the context of the DSE examination. It is a thought-provoking and emotionally impactful film that resonates with its audience, leaving a lasting impression and encouraging deeper reflection on the pressures and aspirations of young individuals in the education system.

I rated it 8/10


Reviewed in Cinemas, Hong Kong

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