Jia Zhangke back on Chinese screens after 9 years

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, September 8, 2015
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Chinese director Jia Zhangke's latest film "Mountains May Depart" will debut in China at the end of October after his 9-year absence in the domestic film market.

Chinese director Jia Zhangke dances with the cast of his film and female dancers at the press conference to promote his latest film "Mountains May Depart" in Beijing on Sept. 6, 2015. [Photo / China.org.cn]

"I have always wanted to make a film about affection. I felt that I always owed audiences a film on the big screen," Jia said. "Many young people may see my works on the Internet, but I felt that was not enough. So we decided to release this film in China first."

Jia danced with the leading cast of the film Zhao Tao, Zhang Yi and Dong Zijian at the beginning of a press conference in Beijing on Sunday. Writer and director Han Han also attended the event and branded it as the "must-see" movie of 2015.

The director said the dance is not only the opening of the actual film, but also an essential element of the film. "I love dancing. When I was in school, break dancing was very popular," he recalled and laughed. "My classmates and I formed a break dance group and danced in nearby disco venues. I was even called 'the prince of break dance' or 'the prince of disco' throughout my high school and university years."

In "Mountains May Depart," everything starts in 1999, and then takes the audience to 2014 and 2025. The goal, according to him, is to show what kind of new understanding people have of affection. "We started the story in 1999, because of the rapid progress of technology that took place at this time as well as the fact that email became popular then. Changes in affection are also influenced by technology."

"We are separated and lost among mountains and rivers, but this movie is set in the flow of time," the director said. "The 26-year journey of affection portrayed in the film is like a religious practice of love."

The film tells the story of three good friends throughout three different time frames. Two childhood friends are both in love with a town beauty, who is also a singer and dance instructor. The woman eventually decides to marry the wealthier one. They soon have a son named Dollar. From China to Australia, the three persons’ lives, love, hopes and disillusions are traced over two generations in a society that is rapidly changing.

"Mountains May Depart" premiered at Cannes in May to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 68th Cannes Film Festival. It was well-received though didn't win any awards.

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian has said, "Jia Zhangke's 'Mountains May Depart' is a mysterious and in its way staggeringly ambitious piece of work from a filmmaker whose creativity is evolving before our eyes."

"Mountains May Depart" will be released in China on Oct. 30, 2015.

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