Ash Is Purest White (2019)


Critic Consensus: Ash Is Purest White finds writer-director Zhangke Jia revisiting familiar themes while continuing to observe modern Chinese society with an urgent, empathetic eye.

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Movie Info

A tragicomedy initially set in the jianghu-criminal underworld-setting, ASH IS PUREST WHITE is less a gangster movie than a melodrama. With a three-part structure, it begins by following the quick-witted Qiao (Tao Zhao) and her mobster boyfriend Bin (Fan Liao) as they stake out their turf against rivals and upstarts in 2001 postindustrial Datong before expanding out into an epic narrative of how abstract forces shape individual lives, and continues Jia Zhangke's body of work as a record of 21st-century China and its warp-speed transformations.


Critic Reviews for Ash Is Purest White

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (11)

[Ash] moves fluidly from naturalism to melodrama to tell an epic story of a wayward, romantically frustrated woman over roughly 15 years.

Jan 17, 2019 | Full Review…

Jia Zhang-Ke's large scale reintroduction is hardly a disappointment; it's simply another fine Jia Zhang-Ke film. What did we expect?

Jan 2, 2019 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Entire passages stretch along at a too-leisurely pace, allowing whatever anger Jia is surely carrying to too frequently cool off. Still, by the film's New Year's Eve-set finale, there's little doubt Jia can create masterful cinematic moments.

Sep 5, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

There's a timeless quality to Qiao and Bin's relationship, to its elemental cycles of loyalty, power, and humiliation.

May 30, 2018 | Full Review…

This is a movie about how time and circumstance conspire to make dazed, restless wanderers of us all.

May 15, 2018 | Full Review…

Ash Is Purest White finds China's most prominent filmmaker wistfully replaying the hits in order to further romanticize some of the fixations that have always dominated his work.

May 14, 2018 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

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