Lost in the kerfuffle of the partisan bickering involving COVID-19 restrictions, and risk management is the very real loss of life that this tenacious virus has caused. The first sequence of writer/director Niuyue Kay Zhang’s Mother in the Mist involves a young girl calling out for her mother on a rural road shrouded in a blanket of mist. There’s no response other than the lonely echo of her query. This introduction sets the stage for a short film that is missing none of the poignancy of high-quality feature-length dramas.
The film takes place at the beginning of the pandemic in its epicenter, Wuhan. A young mother named Zhao (Shen Shi Yu) has recently had a premature birth, necessitating her daughter’s placement in an incubator. Unfortunately for the baby, Snowie, and Zhao, the COVID-19 lockdown in Wuhan soon prevents the mother from visiting her daughter in the hospital. Desperate to see her baby, Zhao happens to run across the same young girl from the introductory sequence, played by Wang Xi Wen. She seems to know a way around the lockdown and into Wuhan. And as it happens, she’s seeking her mother in Wuhan, whom she was inexplicably separated from.
“…the COVID-19 lockdown in Wuhan soon prevents the mother from visiting her daughter…”
Not all is what it seems in Mother in the Mist, and the cast and crew work well to put forth a cohesive statement on the eternal nature of motherhood. The film is beautifully shot, and both actors give effortlessly effective performances. This ensures that the audience feels the full extent of the emotional core.
The global community has now exceeded six million deaths due to the pandemic, but no manner of governmental restrictions can realistically keep a mother from her child or break the bonds of family. Mother in the Mist reminds us that while we may be moving towards a new relationship with COVID-19, the consequences of the past two years are here to stay.
"…both actors give effortlessly effective performances."