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Ash Is Purest White

Jia Zhang-ke
Jiang hu er nv
China, France, Japan 2018 / 150’
Anna's War At War

Ash Is the Purest White, which took part in the Main Competition at this year's Cannes Festival, is both a love story set in an unromantic era of turbo-capitalism and an inconspicuous gangster film in the characteristic style of fifth-generation Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke. Winner of the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes for A Touch of Sin (2013), his latest film tells the story of Qiao (his favorite actress, Zhao Tao, who has appeared in most of his films, including Still LifeMountains May Depart and Touch of Sin), who is in love with a provincial gangster named Bin (Fan Liao, Black Coal, Thin Ice). The couple run an illegal gaming room in the guise of a disco. Following an unexpected attack by a competing gang, Qiao is forced to make a dramatic choice. She saves Bin but loses him at the same time. Jia Zhang-ke delves into the feelings of his characters, who are forced to pay dearly for their sins and for their fight for honor. The director once again sets the film in his native region of China, in the largest city in Shanxi province, Datong, which offers a reflection of China in the 21st century, which is simultaneously immersed in centuries-old tradition.

Against Gravity

Jia Zhang-ke

Born in Fenyang, Shanxi, Zhangke Jia is a sixth generation Chinese director and screenwriter of the Sixth Generation movement. While he studied painting, he was so fascinated by film that, in 1995, he established the Youth Experimental Film Group, with which he started shooting videos. His feature debut, Pick Pocket, was a huge success, and his follow-up films (Platform, Unknown Pleasures) made it into the programs at some of the largest festivals. He won a Golden Lion at the festival in Venice for Still Life.

Selected filmography

1997 Kieszonkowiec / Pick Pocket / Xiao wu

2000 Platforma / Platform / Zhantai 

2002 Nieznane rozkosze / Unknown Pleasures / Ren xiao yao 

2004 Świat / The World / Shijie 

2006 Martwa natura / Still Life / Sanxia haoren 

2013 Dotyk grzechu / A Touch of Sin / Tian zhu ding 

2015 Nawet góry przeminą / Mountains May Depart / Shan he gu ren

Cast & Crew

director Jia Zhang-ke
screenplay Jia Zhang-ke
cinematography Éric Gautier
editing Matthieu Laclau
cast Tao Zhao, Fan Liao, Zheng Xu, Casper Liang
producer Shôzô Ichiyama, Nathanaël Karmitz, Shiyu Liu, Zhonglun Ren
production Shanghai Film Group Corporation, Xstream Pictures (Beijing), Huanxi Media Group, Limited (Taizhou), Huanxi Media Group Limited (Tianjin), mk Productions
Polish distributor Against Gravity
language Mandarin
colouration colour