PÖFF: The White Girl

Famed cinematographer (and collaborator with Wong Kar-wai on some of the Hong Kong auteur’s most celebrated films) Christopher Doyle takes the directorial reins together with first-time feature director Jenny Suen to pay whimsical homage to her hometown and his adopted home of Hong Kong.

The titular girl – a motherless teenager who is allergic to sunshine – lives with her father in a seaside pearl-farming village. An outcast, she haunts the seashore at twilight, cutting a ghostly figure against the crashing waves in her broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses. A stranger, a Japanese artist who’s fled art-world glitz for the solitude of a derelict mansion nearby, sees her nightly peregrinations, and a tentative friendship develops between the two possibly kindred spirits. Counterpointing their solitariness, a boisterous, streetwise kid goes about the village everyday, hawking mosquito coils. On his round one day, he happens upon a secret meeting between a local official and a group of visitors that bodes ill for the village’s future.

Hong Kong lives in the snatches of a bygone melody, imaginings sparked by treasured mementos, and the textures of a present that may not have a tomorrow. At once a mood-piece, a reflection on Hong Kong, and a coming-of-age story, „The White Girl“ makes palpable the delicate balancing act of a girl growing up, holding on yet letting go of dreams.Cheng-Sim Lim