Jia Zhangke, a Guy from Fenyang (2016)

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Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles accompanies the prolific Chinese director Jia Zhangke on a walk down memory lane, as he revisits his hometown and other locations used in creating his ever-growing body of work. At each location, they visit Jia's family, friends, and former colleagues, and their conversations range from his mother's tales of him as a young boy to amusing remembrances of school days and film shoots to memories of his father and to the shared understanding that if not for pirated DVDs, much of Jia's work would go unseen in China. All roads traveled are part of one journey; the destination of which is Jia's relationship to his past and to his country. The confluence of storytelling, intellect, and politics informing all of Jia's work is brought to light in this lovely, intimate portrait of the artist on his way to the future.

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Critic Reviews for Jia Zhangke, a Guy from Fenyang

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

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.

May 27, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

A decent and conscientious, though unremarkable, companion piece to Mr. Jia's crucial films.

May 26, 2016 | Full Review…

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.

May 26, 2016 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

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.

May 25, 2016 | Full Review…

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.

Jun 16, 2016 | Full Review…

A thought-provoking documentary on the gifted Chinese director and his films.

Jun 10, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

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