Still Life

Dir: Jia Zhang-Ke

Hong Kong

112 mins


Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice 2006, Jia Zhangke’s Still Life features two parallel stories about individuals arriving at Fengjie, a town on the Yangtze River in the Sichuan province, searching for their estranged spouses.

As the first visitor is soon shocked to discover, much of the town has been submerged following the flooding of the valley to make way for the Three Gorges hydro-electric dam, a project dreamed up by Chairman Mao.

Hauntingly beautiful tracking shots absorb the changing surroundings, as tenements are demolished and others are marked up with chalk for evacuation.

The past is remembered through collections of abandoned possessions and etchings of landscapes on bank notes, while scenes of soon-to-be displaced people take on the air of tableaux vivants, like future memories fixed in time.

These meditative scenes are punctuated by moments of CGI-enhanced fantasy, when a UFO flies across the valley and a building blasts off like a rocket, which strangely don’t seem at odds with the surrealism of the underwater town and the building that collapses without warning. Jia’s stunning film portrays a country in a state of tremendous flux.

Booking Information



Release Date

1 February 2008

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