Jia Zhangke, a Guy from Fenyang (2016)
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While Salles' portrait gives a very incomplete account of the man and his art, it pays tribute to a filmmaker who remains among the medium's foremost and most fascinating creators.
A decent and conscientious, though unremarkable, companion piece to Mr. Jia's crucial films.
The problem with art like Jia's is that a straightforward approach isn't going to reveal anything that isn't already there in the work or document anything that the movies don't already document themselves.
Salles, scrupulously self-effacing, affords Jia the latitude to think and talk at his leisure - to speak at length, and candidly, about his work and what informs it.
As Jia guides Salles through Fenyang, formerly a prison, and his past shooting locations, and as he introduces old friends and neighbors, the documentary gives evidence of how a director translates personal experience and political perspective into film.
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