In big screen images, intimate observations and dramatic stories, the film portrays New York’s transformation during the first 12 months of the pandemic.

Spring 2020. New York has fallen silent. Frighteningly silent. The coronavirus has brought this buzzing, vibrant city to a standstill. The streets are empty, the “New York on Pause” rules are in force throughout the city. This film starts in the first days and weeks of the pandemic. Using big screen images, intimate observations, associative, poetic montages and dramatic personal stories, the film portrays the transformation of the city and its unique residents. Over a period of twelve months, we follow the fates of an undertaker, a restaurant owner, a music teacher, an aspiring politician, a hairdresser and many others. In Chinese astrology, the Year of the Rat symbolises potential drama that can only be overcome with determination, wisdom and energy. With its population of nine million, this metropolis is the coronavirus epicentre of the US, with up to 800 people dying every day. Tens of thousands lose their job. But New York wouldn’t be New York if couldn’t survive even this crisis. The film shows how New Yorkers overcome resignation and isolation and see the pandemic as a challenge and an opportunity.