It flew under the radar that Ildikó Enyedi (most recently of Story of My Wife, most notably of My Twentieth Century) had suited a role for Tony Leung in her new feature, Silent Friend, which “tells three stories connected to a tree over a period of more than 100 years” and rather ambitiously centers on “radical shifts in human perception of plants, animals and humans.” Last summer’s news offered an April 2024 start date, and––whatever radio silence since––things appear on-track. A press release from German superentity Pandora Film announces a production commencement for next month with Léa Seydoux starring alongside Luna Wedler, Enzo Brumm, and Sylvester Groth.

Variety’s initial story revealed Leung will play “a renowned neuroscientist traveling from his hometown of Hong Kong to the Marburg Faculty”; no word yet of how Seydoux or her co-stars fit in, but Pandora’s official synopsis suggests they, sadly, won’t intersect. We should know more soon: as cameras roll next month, so shooting finishes in May, offering possibility of a late-2024 premiere.

Here (with some translation) is said synopsis:

The film tells three stories from the perspective of a tree in three different eras: 1908, 1972 and 2020. It’s about perception and communication between humans and nature. Three stories about the inventiveness of each generation, in which discoveries and the will to change, the desire for emancipation and love create a fascinating connection to other living beings. In addition to short scenes in Paris and Hong Kong, the film will take place exclusively in Marburg. The medieval university town is by no means just a picturesque backdrop, but rather a defining feature of the plot – especially the botanical garden, which is almost half a millennium old. Among the many exotic species preserved there is a majestic tree that is lonelier than all others. Its flowers open at night, when the flowers of all other plants are closed. He has been watching people for a long time.

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