The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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Zhangke spellbindingly captures the human cost of rapid industrialization in modern China.
All Critics (51)
| Top Critics (19)
| Fresh (47)
| Rotten (4)
More than a million people have been displaced in central China in the cause of generating electrical power to meet the needs of the future; Jia's flowing river of a picture washes over a few of them as they adjust to life's currents in the present.
Simply one of the best films of last year, this year, or any year likely to come.
An extraordinary glimpse into the psychology, subtext and austere reality of modern Chinese culture.
Never has destruction looked more beautiful than the demolished buildings in Jia Zhang-ke's Still Life.
Writer-director Jia Zhangke is a keen observer of the effects of the break-neck modernization that is stampeding China toward a future that no one can predict, control, or contain.
Jia Zhang-ke is a new auteur making his mark. Embraced abroad on the international festival circuit, if less welcome on screens in China, this writer-director works in a genre that could be called globalist.
Jia is a great director, and much of Still Life's power comes from the way he depicts his characters moving through the landscape... Jia's eye for composition recalls Antonioni in its rigor and poetry, but he isn't after mere pictorial splendor.
...the neo-realism of Jia shooting his latest film "Still Life" around the actual Three Gorges Dam is stunning. It is a fresh, relieving change of course from the previous film's overwrought, overburdened allegorical setting.
A lyrical pic that brilliantly blends together documentary and fantasy to paint an evocative picture of modern China that is free from the usual Red Chinese propaganda.
Jia draws a fine line between the corporeal and ethereal, a fitting means of highlighting the inherent unbelievability of one's way of life disappearing underwater.
Observant and acts as a record of the inevitability of change, even ones mandated not by nature but by the government.
Playful and moody, naturalistic and surreal, Still Life is a film not to be missed.
Jia Zhangke's STILL LIFE is a prime example of the effectiveness of observational filmmaking and how the weight of the subject alone (and its themes) can not only propel but impact the drama forward. Although it seemingly presents two separate narratives following two different characters traversing a bleak but exquisitely framed developmental atmosphere (small villages directly affected by the Three Gorges Dam project that make for cinematic locations), the film unfolds with care and precision by never forcing dramatic elements and allowing the viewers to learn, feel, and decide as they go; both characters go about their way with a sense of clustered urgency as we learn the ways in which the society has impacted their personal lives, relationships, and families - we know and see just as much as we need to (a credit to a superbly tight script). This is a film that rewards the viewer once the credit rolls - allowing the punch to reveal itself gradually as the grounded, painful, and raw message sinks in. It is, in fact, a devastating realization, and likewise a great film, that is bolstered by Jia's patient approach, unintrusive cinematography and storytelling, and bold commentary on a specific aspect of his country's real-life issues.
a gorgeous minimalist meditation on the effects of the three gorges dam project on the ancient chinese civilization in the area, focusing on two keenly observed characters searching for lost relatives. quiet moving drama, the best i've seen from jia zhang ke yet
The Three Gorges Damn saga has produced some very interesting fictional and non fictional accounts particularly on the displaced people of China. For great Chinese cinema go elsewhere but this isn't a bad way to pass some time.
[font=Century Gothic]"Still Life" starts with Han(Han Sanming) arriving in Fengjie as it is in the process of being prepared to be flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. He is looking for the wife he has not seen in sixteen years, desperately wanting to see the daughter he has never known. But he receives news from her brother that she is currently out of town and the best thing to do is just to wait for her. In the interim, Han finds some demolition work.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]In the meantime, Shen Hong(Zhao Tao) also arrives in town looking for her husband who she has not heard from in two years.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The central theme of "Still Life" is the price of progress. The bitter irony of the Three Gorges Dam is that it is likely to help other parts of the country more than the people who are being dislocated. Fengjie is definitely a fascinating setting for a movie and a good starting place for an exploration of forced mobility in Chinese society. So, while the movie handles the social criticism well, the drama is handled less successfully, as neither storyline is developed as well as they could have been.[/font]
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