Live Action Movies Shorts


Director – Chan Lok-yi – 2017 – Hong Kong – Cert. N/C 12+ – 23m


A schoolgirl looking for her first alcoholic drink falls in with a poor, unemployed man who likes to drink – online and Free To View in the UK in the Fresh Wave short films strand of Focus Hong Kong 2021 from Tuesday, February 9th to Monday, February 15th

A schoolgirl (Chan Wing Sum) eyes up the canned alcoholic beverage section of the local 7-Eleven. She’s aware of the man (Ng Kam-chuen) at the counter asking, pleading, almost pathetically, “can I pay you next time, please?” Both are losers. After class, her teacher takes her aside and tells her, “unless you do something, you will fail.” 

The man, meanwhile, gets short shrift when he enters a local warehouse looking for work. The extremely busy and smartly dressed manager doesn’t seem to like the look of him but is quite happy to tell someone else, “you’ve come just in time.” 

Our man hangs around the streets near the school.  He’s grateful when a group of self-proclaimed Christians turn up to hand out food to the needy and enjoys a quiet meal out of fast food cartons on a bench in a deserted urban area as a result. He gets lucky back at the shop when a different counter assistant can see he lacks enough change but lets him take the cans of beer anyway. As he sits by a pedestrian crossing enjoying a can of beer, behind his back from the glass-fronted  restaurant in which she’s eating her supper the schoolgirl watches him.

Next time he’s in the shop, a different assistant won’t wear it and turns him away. The schoolgirl has money and buys him four cans. As he leaves, she follows him and begs him to give her one of them. Eventually he relents and she sits down and joins him. He tells her it’s dangerous for a girl to be out late at night and that she should go home to her parents. (Her situation isn’t clear, but we see no sign of parents in her apartment.) As she is about to throw up, he helpfully produces a plastic bag. 

She runs into him later when he’s actually got some work, moving boxes in a shop. He’s clearly prepared to do any work he can find, it’s just that there isn’t much about as proved by yet another fruitless visit to the unsympathetic warehouse manager. She runs into him again on a later occasion as he sits alone when he tells her in no uncertain terms to leave him alone and go away. Her closing voice-over as she eats in the shop again says it all: “I really know nothing about him. I am alone. Perhaps he is alone too.” 

As an understated picture of the plight of people living on their own in an urban environment, this is spot on. It just happens to be Hong Kong, but it could equally well be any number of other cities around the world. It’s a poignant and touching observation.

Hello plays online and is Free To View in the UK as part of the Fresh Wave short films strand of Focus Hong Kong 2021 from Tuesday, February 9th to Monday, February 15th.


Hong Kong’s Fresh Wave Short Film Festival: find out more.

To see more Fresh Wave reviews, click the Fresh Wave tag below.

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