Transit Circle
Documentary Form, DE/CN 2019, 40'

Hanqi and her friends drift through the suburban area of Hangzhou. Strolling through the concrete and neon-lit landscape of the city, they experience the transformations it undergoes daily. As they drift night after night, they become the living interface of a metamorphosis that cannot be perceived or understood if not by becoming part of it. Thus, Hanqi and her friends catch fleeting glimpses of beauty in an environment that most people would only perceive as alienating, hostile or cold. Like an ambient composition by Brian Eno or Philip Glass, the film moves through minimal variations, completely immersed in its nocturnal beat. Space becomes time. A film like a poem; a coming-of-age movie that escapes all the known clichés. Stephan Knauss proves that he is one of the filmmakers to watch closely in the next future. The way he handles and organizes all the elements of his extremely beguiling work are irrefutable proof for it. Transit Circle is a sensorial ambient film that displays flair and creativity.
—Giona A. Nazzaro, Visions du Réel 2019

read text by anja e. redecker
"a place where beginning and end slip through one's fingers"

watch trailer on vimeo | listen to the film score

director's note
In late 2015 I moved as a student to Zhuantang, a suburban area of Hangzhou, where I met Hanqi Sheng and her friends who introduced me to their city and their life around Zhuantang. I was astounded by the dynamic and the beauty of their utopia and at the same time overwhelmed by its transformations, that I wanted to make a film purely about the existence of this transit zone and our daily lives in this place. A place that's gone, but still there at the same time. So I asked Hanqi Sheng to make this film with me about "a metamorphosis that cannot be perceived or understood if not by becoming part of it."

50th Visions du Réel - International Film Festival Nyon
62nd DOK Leipzig - International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film

cast & crew
director Stephan Knauss producers Hanqi Sheng Stephan Knauss cast Hanqi Sheng Shuiqing Wang Wan Xu Yingying Zheng Minda Xu Jun Geng Momo Si Jun Gao dolly grip Xingbo Shu cinematography Stephan Knauss editors Stephan Knauss Hanqi Sheng sound-design & music composing Mario Schöning additional saxophone Kyle Forester re-recording mix Patrick Dadaczynski translation Philipp Hirschfeld Hanqi Sheng Konouz Saeed illustration Karlotta Freier

making-of gallery