Wood and Water Image

Wood and Water

By Kyle Bain | March 21, 2022

Mother (Anke Bak) has just retired from years of service at her church. After retirement, Mother decides to move from her solitary life in Germany to Hong Kong. Wood and Water, written and directed by Jonas Bak, sees the retiree traversing the difficult streets of Hong Kong, trying to find her way in the world and understand her relationship with those around her. With this drama, the filmmaker aims to create something authentic, something incredibly relatable, and he does that with grace and simplicity.

Viewers get an accurate representation of the world in which we live – one full of protest, heartbreak, and hardship – and Mother leads the way for viewers through this simplistic but compelling journey. In many ways, the film is an artistic exploration of the many avenues through which a family can travel. Being credited simply as “mother” or “sister” takes something away from the characters’ individuality while expressing the importance of their roles in the grand scheme of their family. Furthermore, the entirety of the movie is spent developing Mother, transforming her into a realistic version of a lost woman.

Wood and Water speaks to viewers of all walks of life and encourages them to look inward, analyze who and what they are, and come to terms with their realities. Bak explores the purpose of every family member, and audience members are able to see what role each plays in the world, the family, and this specific narrative. His attention to detail is nothing short of spectacular.

“…sees the retiree traversing the difficult streets of Hong Kong…”

The slow-moving, meticulous story is inviting and aims to be as accessible as possible. Nothing outrageous occurs, but rather it takes its time developing as it examines the scope of human nature and their relationships with everyone and everything else. But, I won’t lie. Given this measured pacing, it takes some time to become invested in the lead’s journey and to really buy into what is going on.

The fact that it’s so incredibly slow and that not much happens may cause some viewers to turn up their noses and walk away. I don’t blame them, as it does take some genuine thought and effort in order to be able to understand and appreciate Wood and Water. This is an intelligent film that doesn’t dabble but dives right into the simple and the typical. It begs viewers to ask questions and become part of the narrative because participation is key as Mother navigates her new world.

Wood and Water may be challenging to get through, depending on who you are. It takes time to develop, and even after finding its footing, it is not always easy to understand the movie’s purpose. Nevertheless, the drama is relevant, touching, and ultimately meaningful, as it aims to educate and enlighten its viewers. As such, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, insert yourself in the narrative, actively ponder the questions being asked, and admire the nuances of what Jonas Bak creates, you are likely to find something to enjoy.

Wood and Water (2022)

Directed and Written: Jonas Bak

Starring: Anke Bak, Ricky Yeung, Alexandra Batten, Patrick Lo, Theresa Bak, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Wood and Water Image

"…relevant, touching, and ultimately meaningful...."

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