Directed by Jonas Bak • Drama • With Anke Bak, Patrick Lo • 2021 • 79 minutes
With seamless grace, shooting on 16 mm, and underscored by a soundtrack from Brian Eno, German director Jonas Bak moves from the tall spires of the Black Forest to the teeming skyscrapers of Hong Kong in his tranquil, deeply moving feature debut.
Anke retires from her job at the church in a small town in the Black Forest. She looks forward to reuniting with her children over the summer holidays by the Baltic Sea, at a place where they used to live as a young family, and where she lived her best years. At the last minute, her son Max is unable to join them because of protests that are bringing Hong Kong, where he lives, to a standstill. She has been out of touch with him for many years and after an otherwise uneventful summer and facing the void of retirement, she decides to visit him. A mother wants to check in on her children every now and then, but Hong Kong is also her adventure, her escape. She must spend a few days there by herself until Max returns from a worktrip. Protest-ridden Hong Kong is an enigmatic new world to her through which she moves carefully. Through conversations with strangers, she gradually settles in. A young woman who is sad to leave Hong Kong, Max’s doorman, a psychiatrist, a fortune teller and a social activist. These encounters and her experience of the city help her to break down the inner walls she constructed years ago and make way for a new chapter in her life.