169 Great Directors: Jia Zhangke

“Revolution is the cruelest of recollections for the Chinese people. The destructive effects of the previous revolution are still deeply felt. It wasn’t that long ago that people were violent to each other in the name of communism. Now it’s in the pursuit of capitalism.”

What Got This Director Here?
: A new sensation, although mostly Platform.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: A Touch of Sin.

What Did I Watch: Still Life.

Where Does He Fit: Still Life is like nothing else Jia has done, and it doesn’t really resemble the majority of other films either. It’s slowly paced, and seems to be taking place in the background of real destruction being done to a river all in the name of economic gains. The cast has some non-actors, but Zhao Tao plays a major role in one of the two stories of people trying to find relatives that we follow. The compositions are unimpeachable, but it all is so stretched and blurry in a way that is designed to put you in a trance. It’s Antonioni, but angry.


Most Valuable Asset: When you’re stuck in China, life is stretched out.
Most Excited For: Platform.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: I’d say yes.

Coming Up Next: Mikhail Kalatozov, who took the Soviet montage into a very different direction.


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