Lost in the Fumes (2017) 地厚天高
Dir. Nora Lam
Despite its unsatisfactory audio quality and subtitles, this documentary on Edward Leung gives an honest account of the 26-year-old’s ups and downs (mostly downs) following the 2016 by-election.
While Leung is known as a radical localist, the director eschews political discourse with the aim of revealing his private, depoliticised side. The English title of the film, Lost in the Fumes is so on point that it embodies his confusion, anxiety and helplessness. The documentary shows his identities as a student, a patient, an activist, a politician, an accused, and most importantly, a human with flesh and blood. Watching this and then thinking about what Hong Kong is like today just moved me to tears. Perhaps Leung’s response to the status quo, ‘There’s nothing I can do to change this; the only thing I can do is to make myself a better me’ is also what we can do in a world of absurdity.
P.S. The English translation of 關家姐 as ‘La La Land’s Oscar’ shows a good example of cultural transposition.