Friday, 1 June 2012

RARE live footage Queen's Coronation 1953

This is different, and rare - bet you've never seen this before. LIVE footage of the Queen's Coronation procession on 2nd June 1953. One of the reasons it's so remarkable is because it shows Hong Kong, not Britain. And specifically Chinese themes. Dragon and lion dances, elaborate floats, most with Chinese themes, marching bands, both Chinese and western. Fantastic!  Look out for the float with KCR tower and other Hong Kong landmarks on the back of a truck. Onre of the big building lit up with lights is a huge Pai Lau (ceremonial arch) built for the occasion and decoarated weith flowers (traditional Chinese custom). Full screen recommended. These clips were filmed live, then incorporated into the Cantonese movie Bright Light (火樹銀花相映紅) starring mega hero Cheung Ying (張瑛). The "crowds" on the viewing platform are well-known Cantonese movie stars who got to enjoy the show while making the film. The other crowd scenes, with people lining balconies etc.are ordinary people, preserved forever in this amazing historical material.

Why such big celebrations so far away from London? Hong Kong people weren't attached to the Queen, not even to Britain, but they'd been through more than twenty years of war and revolution, rather more traumatic than anything experienced in the UK. After China was invaded by Japan in 1931, waves after waves of refugees moved back and forth, never able to settle anywhere long. Whole generations of displaced people. Under the Japanese occupation, Hong Kong was deliberately depopulated, then bombed flat by the Americans. When the Communists took Beijing in 1949, milllions more refugees fled southwards. So four years later, they're celebrating. It's not so much the Queen they're cheering but the fact that they'd survived horrible conditions and were starting to be prosperous again.

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