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 Life, Mountains 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.
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.
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