Mountains May Depart
Mountains May Depart is the new film from Chinese auteur Jia Zhang-ke (Still Life, 24 City, A Touch of Sin), screened at Cannes and LFF last year. Typically ambitious, it offers a treatise on the perils of ‘going west’ (the Pet Shop Boys’ track opens the film) and the losses – both for individuals and as a country, and both contemporary and potential – for China in blindly embracing capitalism.
Zhao Tao (Zhang-ke’s wife and frequent collaborator) is Tao, a beautiful and spirited young woman and Zhang-ke’s narrative focus at three separate points in her life: 1999, 2014 and 2025. She must choose between two suitors – coal miner Liang and entrepreneur Jingsheng – and two vastly divergent paths.
What follows is another absorbing, intellectually expansive film from Zhang-ke, as he continues to explore ideas of cultural and emotional alienation that are key to his always rich, always compelling understanding of modern China.