Anywhere the Wind Blows (2024)
Anywhere the Wind Blows (2024)

Genre: Drama Running Time: 18 min.

Release Date: May 10th, 2024 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Jay Liu Actors: Glen Wong, Ray Kam

 


 

A

fter participating in the 2019 protests in Hong Kong against police brutality and for human rights, Alex Ng (Glen Wong) fled the country, concerned with undemocratic prosecution. But he uprooted quickly, leaving his entire life behind in order to retain his freedom as a fugitive overseas, and to spread the word about the dire situation. His parents still worry about him, calling to warn him, perhaps with excessive paranoia, about Chinese spies who scout out refugees to become targets for harassment. Alex tends to dismiss these vexations, allaying familial anxieties with white lies about his important diplomatic work, such as speaking at a global democracy summit (which he actually does, routinely). On this particular evening, however, he’s meeting former boyfriend Brandon Ma (Ray Kam) at a fancy restaurant in America.

“No one cares about Hong Kong anymore.” Interestingly, despite the obvious backdrop of political unrest – including the continued persecution of HongKongers abroad, the enactment of China’s over-reaching National Security Law, and threats that forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homeland – this story is vastly more intimate. Setting aside the gravity of Alex’s spontaneous immigration, “Anywhere the Wind Blows” opts to focus on his struggle with simpler desires; a devotion to a cause may not be as powerful as attempting to satisfy personal needs and emotions.

The film aims to let viewers in on the notion that political activists are regular people too; they may rise up in the moment, get caught up in the fight for something bigger than themselves, and perhaps unwittingly become leaders of monumental movements, but they also have commonplace feelings and relationships. They still have normal hopes and dreams that extend beyond perpetuating the battle for multilateral attention and relief. Though this point is evident, this short subject develops as merely that: a brief exercise in humanizing an advocate, wherein few potent details or revelations transpire. There is a decisive resolution, but it brings to an end a premise that had little opportunity to build its way up to much; it’s a fleeting glimpse at a topic that was once at the top of the news cycle internationally, but which has now been buried by onslaughts of internal socioeconomic and political woes.

As for the technical side, the film is nicely shot, with crisp cinematography (hallucinatory imagery of violence during protests are particularly effective). Yet even with its two leads working well under the instruction of writer/director Jay Liu, minor background elements tend to shake viewers from the authenticity of Wong and Kam’s performances. Supporting roles come across as too stiff and unnatural; these extras, with only a line or so of dialogue, could have had their voices artistically drowned out, like Liu already does for a handful of sequences, to highlight the attentions paid solely to former lovers. As it is, the message may be commanding, but the filmic cohesion is sporadically tenuous.

– Mike Massie

  • 5/10