Jia Zhang-ke

24 City, 2008

In its portrait of a culture on the verge of erasure with the advent of redevelopment and gentrification, Jia Zhang-ke’s 24 City shares kinship with José Luis Guerín’s En Construcción, reflecting the idea of a city built from the rubble of abandoned, forgotten histories. Interweaving first person and composite, fictional interviews with workers, friends, and… read more »

Still Life, 2006

Perhaps what is most striking about Jia Zhang-ke’s latest digital feature, Still Life, is its unexpected maturity, a marked evolution away from capturing the sad, eccentric tales of youthful indirection and cultural anachronism of contemporary Chinese life under an often contradictory, dual economy system that defined his earlier films towards a more somber – and… read more »

The World, 2004

Marking Jia’s first state-approved film, The World immediately bears the visual imprint of its “official”, non-underground status in its highly polished mise-en-scène: the elaborate pageantry of a flamboyant stage spectacle, ornate costuming, original electronica background compositions, and whimsical, interstitial animation sequences. Following the lives of a group of young adults working at an Epcot Center-like… read more »

Unknown Pleasures, 2002

An early scene in Unknown Pleasures shows a young man named Xiao Ji (Wu Qiong) riding his motorcycle on the way to town and, upon reaching the back room of a nondescript building, unexpectedly catches the curious sight of a man dressed in leisure clothes as he passionately sings an operatic melody – complete with… read more »

Platform, 2000

Platform opens to an appropriately temporally indeterminate sight of a bustling, crowded backstage of a provincial theater as a group of itinerant performers await the commencement of their traveling cultural education program that equally extols the country’s technological and social progress made possible by the Communist Revolution and celebrates its principal architect, Chairman Mao Zedong…. read more »