architecture

Juno Mak reveals sanctuary in shadow of Hong Kong skyscrapers

Updated 19th November 2018
Juno Mak reveals sanctuary in shadow of Hong Kong skyscrapers
Written by Stephy Chung, Herbert Chow, Momo Moussa, CNNHong Kong
Hong Kong may be known for its densely packed high-rises, crowded streets and frenetic, sleepless energy. But it's the metropolis' "quieter" pockets that interest film director Juno Mak.
The 34-year-old Hong Kong native finds inspiration in unexpected places, such as Ping Shek Estate, a vertigo-inducing public housing block in Kowloon. The buildings' unsettling symmetries inspired Mak to set "Rigor Mortis," his critically acclaimed 2013 Chinese hopping vampire film, in the compound.
"It's claustrophobic and closed up," he observes. "It's a trapped beauty for me.
"If you look up, it's just four walls, sort of like a tunnel to the sky. That's what fascinates me about Hong Kong. You see the sky, but only see bits and pieces because there are so many buildings."
To escape the city's intensity, Mak takes meditative strolls through Shek O, a coastal village in the southeastern part of Hong Kong Island. There, rugged rocks peek out from crashing waves and residents live in colorful homes facing out to the South China Sea.
"You feel a friendliness, it's more chilled out," Mak says. "Whenever I am working, creating... I want creativity in its purest form.
"I like the water there, the air. The tight, close alleyways."
Watch the video above to find out more about Mak's love of Hong Kong.