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 the pro-democracy 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. She takes up residence in his flat while Max is away on a business trip and cautiously begins to navigate this mysterious new world. 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.
TAI CHI CHAN C FU GROUP
Screenwriter, Director, Editor
ULLA LEHMANN, ANDREA ROGGON
CHRIS GAYNE, JEREMIE VERNEREY, ALBERT HUNG KIN KONG, ISAAC BERTULIS
HSIEN YU NIU
“New Space Music” written and performed by BRIAN ENO
Courtesy of All Saints Records, © Universal Music Publishing Ltd on behalf of Opal Music
Supervising Sound Designer & Re-Recording Mixer
Sound Designer & Dialogue Editor
Cinema Re-recording Mixer
HEYNA WONG, ALBERTO GEROSA, LORIEN STOTZEL
Hair & Make-Up
LENA ACKERMANN, AMREI PORTELLA
NATHALIE PORTELLA, AMY ACEITUNA
CHARLOTTE LOUIS, THOMAS LELONG
Film Development & Scanning
Translation & Subtitling
WAY FILM GMBH
MFG FILMFORDERUNG BADEN-WURTTEMBERG
Festival Presentation Supported By
With thanks to
THY LAB, SÜDWESTRUNDFUNK (SWR), MASTER CHRISTIAN ORTH (www.masterarts.training), HENRIK NIELSEN, PROTESTANT CHURCH GUTACH, FANGYING ANG, SOPHIE DUCHARME, WILLI WICHMANN, NEW NORDIC FILMS, TERESA KWONG, SACHIKO AND RÉGIS LELONG
Festivals and Awards
Winner of the Kompass Perspektive Award Special Mention
Winner of the Best Cinematography Award
"An endearing film at the border between documentary and fiction, and one which hides under its humble appearances a very sharp sense for atmosphere"
- Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa
"I was especially taken by Jonas Bak’s gentle character study [...] it’s in the brief encounters, the small talk and the unspoken hurt that our heroine comes to life."
- Beatrice Loayza, The New York Times
"The images, the forest—the natural world where the film begins and ends—and the thronged, high-rise-lined, neon-lit Hong Kong streets, have a richness and presence [...] this modest but beautifully shot and edited film contains some of the last images of daily life in a free Hong Kong that we’ll ever see."
- Amy Taubin, ArtForum
"The nearly abstract transition from Germany to Hong Kong, underscored by a soundtrack from Brian Eno, has to be one of the most beautifully accomplished sequences of the year so far."
- David Hudson, Criterion Daily
"But for all of the evocatively warm energy at the center of Jonas Bak’s “Wood and Water,” tension roils along the edge of each frame."
- David Ehrlich, IndieWire
"Bak’s old-school compositional rigor grounds a series of deeply pleasurable meetings with strangers, conducted in halting lingua franca English."
- Vadim Rizov, Filmmaker Magazine
"Wood and Water casts a sympathetic eye across trans-continental family bonds, growing older, and finding connection in an increasingly chaotic world. Here the inevitable, the uncontrollable, and the senseless prove common ground for kindness and discovery rather than alienation."
- Carmen Paddock, One Room with a View