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Lee Wai Shing, ‘Afar’
Lee Wai Shing, ‘Afar’

The scene in the poem So Close that resonates with me the most is when the son visits the mother. Since I moved away from home seven years ago and established my studio, my life has taken a path that often prevents me from being home for dinner. As a result, the chance to connect with and be close to my beloved family members through filmmaking is an invaluable and cherished experience for me.

—Lee Wai Shing

So Close

As you’re borrowing a folding chair from the grocery store,

and setting it teetering in the lane next door to cool off,

he heads out from an old tenement building in To Kwa Wan,

walks fifteen minutes to the Kowloon City Pier,

gets on the North Point ferry and sits in a seat by the window,

not for the scenery but because of habit,

he opens the Apple Daily, and someone’s jumped off a building, someone’s killed their son, someone’s been robbed, someone’s hid a body,

he flips to the porn pages, takes in a few big boobs,

then turns to the classified ads and the supermarket sales,

not because he’s looking for work or wants to buy anything,

but because of habit, just as he’s in the habit

of getting on the ferry every Saturday afternoon to go visit his mother. He disembarks, passes by the Oasis Avenue hotel, waits for the green light,

crosses Java Road, takes Tong Shui Road, turns onto Chun Yeung Street,

brushes past the tram and smells duck eggs,

preserved vegetables, pickled cucumbers, all the hometown flavours,

and at that point you stand up, wanting to move the chair

to the middle of the lane to get a bit more of a breeze,

and he walks close to you, just as another passerby walks close to you, and to avoid the passerby, he bumps into you,

your body tips, and he reaches out to support you,

his newspaper drops and falls open to the porn pages,

he says something, perhaps an apology,

he’s a manly guy with a mild face,

and his large, rough palms gently touch your shoulders

until you regain your balance and sit back down,

and then he picks up his paper and continues on,

as you watch his back recede,

like a father would watch his son leave,

as for more than a decade

you haven’t been so close to anyone.

—Huang Canran

Translated by Eleanor Goodman



Lee Wai Shing


Cheung Mei Ling, Lee Shun Keung, Joseph Lee, Eva Li


Elysa Wendi


Shaun Neo



Art Director

Charlie Wong

Location Sound Recordist

Chui Chih Yin

Making of Director

Chan Hau Chun

Sound Designer and Mixer

Ellison Bryan Keong


Hugo Loi


Jiekai Liao

About the Commission

As a moving image commission project for young and emerging Hong Kong filmmakers, Poetry on Film is motivated by the belief that poetry possesses an inherent cinematic quality. Its rhythmic cadence, vivid imagery, and emotional depth offer a rich tapestry for filmmakers to weave their visual narratives.

Poetry on Film follows in the footsteps of the M+ short-film commission project Hong Kong as Mise­-en-Scène (2023), which explores the city’s vibrant cultural landscape through moving image works. The idea for Poetry on Film was inspired by Ann Hui’s Elegies (2023), a documentary that looks at Hong Kong through the works of some of the city’s most innovative poets.

Lee Wai Shing
Lee Wai Shing

Lee Wai Shing is an independent filmmaker, focusing on documentary and experimental films. He studied documentary filmmaking and graduated from The Hong Kong Design Institute in 2011. He was trained at Visible Record and Grass Field Work Station (草場地工作站). Between 2014 and 2020, Lee created BBC (2015), 310 Tung Chau Street (2016), and Room 525 (2019). His documentary film Family Day won the Gold Award (Open Category) at the 24th ifva Awards in Hong Kong in 2019. His recent work A Long Walk, commissioned by Tai Kwun, was screened at Image Forum, Japan (2022); Le FIFA International Festival of Films on Art, Canada (2022); and Cinedans at the Eye Museum, The Netherlands (2022), to name a few.

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