Ash Is Purest White (Jiang hu er nv)



Century Larkspur Sun, Oct 7, 2018 7:30 PM
Sequoia 1 Sun, Oct 14, 2018 11:00 AM
Film Info
Category:Mind the Gap
Section:World Cinema
Running Time:150 min.
Director:Jia Zhangke
Producer:Shozo Ichiyama
Screenwriter:Jia Zhangke
Cinematographer:Eric Gautier
Editor:Matthieu Laclau
Lin Xudong
Cast:Zhao Tao
Liao Fan
Xu Zheng
Casper Liang
Print Source:Cohen Media Group
Note Writer:Tim Grierson


Revered Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke (Mountains May Depart) often chronicles the seismic cultural and political shifts in his homeland through his thoughtful, meticulous dramas. Ash Is Purest White is no different, blending a rich character study with a gangster epic while examining how the passage of time asserts itself on both individuals and societies. The film focuses on Qiao (Zhao Tao, the director’s wife and frequent collaborator), who’s devoted to her gangster boyfriend—so much so that she takes the rap for him on a gun charge. Five years later, Qiao is released from prison and tries to pick up the pieces of her old life, only to discover that much of the outside world has changed. Zhao is superb in the lead, bringing emotional shading and a quiet steeliness to a gangster epic that veers brilliantly from the surreal to the melancholy. You may never hear “Y.M.C.A.” the same way again.

Additional Information

Jia Zhangke was born in Fenyang, Shanxi, in 1970 and graduated from the Beijing Film Academy. His debut feature Xiao Wu (1997) won prizes in Berlin, Vancouver, and elsewhere. Since then, his films have routinely premiered at major global festivals. Still Life (2006) won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, A Touch of Sin (2013) won the Best Screenplay prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and Mountains May Depart (2015) was in competition at Cannes. Several of his films have blurred the line between fiction and documentary. He has also produced films for several young directors.