Ash Is Purest White
(Jiang hu er nv)
East Bay Premiere
Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies, UCLA
Zhao Tao, Liao Fan, Xu Zheng, Feng Xiaogang,
A gangster’s wife stands on her own in Jia Zhangke’s expansive narrative of empowerment and survival, set against the tumultuous political and cultural changes of twenty-first-century China. Jia’s wife and longtime muse Zhao Tao, whose roles in his Unknown Pleasures and Still Life serve as inspiration, stars as a woman saddled with a mobster lover who’s seen one too many John Woo films; she first protects him, and then learns to fend for herself, across twenty years of changes. “I now have forty-eight years of life experiences,” Jia notes of his latest epic, “and I want to use them to tell a love story set in a contemporary China which has gone through epic and dramatic transformations.” “Beautifully unsettling, poetic and dazzling, simultaneously dark and radiant, Ash Is Purest White will surely count as one of Jia Zhangke’s greatest films” (Le monde).