films seen
14
average score
2.32*
nationality
China - 52 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

The man who dragged China's arthouse legacy into the 21st century. While the rest of China was trying to create a new cinematic identity, he built upon the remnants of the 5th Generation. Jia made some decent films, but overall I'm not a big fan.

Solid pieces

I Wish I Knew

Hai Shang Chuan Qi
2010 / 125m - China
Documentary
3.5*/5.0*
I Wish I Knew poster

24 City

Er Shi Si Cheng Ji
2008 / 112m - China
Drama
3.5*/5.0*
24 City poster

Still Life

Sanxia Haoren
2006 / 111m - China
Drama
3.5*/5.0*
Still Life poster

The World

Shijie
2004 / 143m - China
Drama
3.5*/5.0*
The World poster

The inoffensive

A Touch of Sin

Tian Zhu Ding
2013 / 130m - China
Action, Crime
3.0*/5.0*
A Touch of Sin poster

Worthy but flawed

Ash Is Purest White

Jiang Hu Er Nv
2018 / 136m - China
Drama, Romance
2.5*/5.0*
Ash Is Purest White poster

Jia doing Jia. There isn't much here that sets it apart from his other films. The slight crime influences are quite recent, but apart from that it's just another film on rural China turning urban. America's cultural influences, horrid fashion and the contrast between old and new. I have to say it's all getting more than a little stale.

Mountains May Depart

Shan He Gu Ren
2015 / 126m - China
Drama, Romance
2.5*/5.0*
Mountains May Depart poster

Artisan Pickpocket

Xiao Wu
1997 / 108m - China
Drama
2.5*/5.0*
Artisan Pickpocket poster

Dubious filler

Useless

Wuyong
2007 / 80m - China
Documentary
2.0*/5.0*
Useless poster

Dong

2006 / 66m - China
Drama, Documentary
2.0*/5.0*
Dong poster

Plain forgettable

Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue

Yi Zhi You Dao Hai Shui Bian Lan
2020 / 112m - China
Documentary
1.5*/5.0*
Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue poster

Jia pumps out another documentary. He's quite skilled at it too, but Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue was a pretty big misfire for me. Unless you're really interested in the topic (a local literary festival in Shanxi) or you really (really) love to hear people talk, there's not that much here.

Read all

Jia seeks out a varied roster of writers and interviews them about their life, though most of them end up talking about their younger years. These are rather lengthy interviews with a strong human interest character, not really the type of documentary I prefer. It's no surprise then that I felt the second hour really started to drag.

The intermezzos of the city (Shanxi) are by far the most interesting. They show that Jia has a knack for documentaries, as long as he doesn't focus too much on people and their (benign) stories. But I'm sure there's an audience for this, so if you want to hear Chinese writers reminisce, this documentary should be well worth your time.

Big nopes

Xiaoshan Going Home

Xiaoshan Huijia
1995 / 59m - China
Drama
1.0*/5.0*
Xiaoshan Going Home poster

Irritation overload

Platform

Zhantai
2000 / 154m - China
Drama
0.5*/5.0*
Platform poster