Documentarian Shengze Zhu, who was born and raised in China and studied filmmaking in the United States, contrasts mid-pandemic surveillance video of Wuhan’s empty streets with footage she’d captured before the COVID outbreak in this becalmed, wordless meditation on the vulnerability and resilience of urban spaces. Interspersed with her exquisitely composed images of life and hope along the Yangtze River are pieces of on-screen text translating the poignant, sometimes wrenching letters written to loved ones affected by illness and death. A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces is a work of dissolution and regeneration, architecture and landscape, a portrait of a city and a world in transition.

All NYFF59 documentaries are presented by: