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Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, this brooding film from Jia Zhang-Ke (Unknown Pleasures) shows the director again focusing on contemporary China. Even though it shares stylistic similarities with documentary film, Still Life has two narratives, both set in Fengjie, an ancient village that was demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam project. Han Sanming plays a miner who returns to the half-deconstructed town in search of his ex-wife and daughter. At the same time, a young nurse (Zhao Tao) arrives to look for her own estranged spouse. Running through all this is the Herzogian theme of the individual vs. massive, corrupt social structures, only inflected by anxieties befitting a culture in transition. Filmed in gorgeous HD by cinematographer Yu Lik-Wai. In Mandarin with optional English subtitles.

Jia Zhang-Ke---China---2006---112 mins.