The World

I'm glad I didn't give up on Jia Zhangke. Several months ago, I reviewed his 2000 film Platform, which was so difficult to watch that I ended up skipping the screening of his most recent film, The World, filmed in 2004. Lucky for me, The World came back to Seattle for a one-week only run this week, and even luckier for me, I was able to work it into my schedule to catch it. The World is the kind of film Jia Zhangke should have been making all along, had he had the freedom to do so.

The Chinese director's first three films were made when he was an "underground" director; he was filming without the sanction of the Chinese government, he had to film quickly, and he never knew, when he was filming shots in public locations, if he would be shut down. His previous three films, Xiao Wu (1998), Platform, and Unknown Pleasures (2002) were all banned in China. Jia was part of a group of young filmmakers fighting for greater freedom in filmmaking, and the government finally announced new policies that loosened the chokehold a bit, allowing Jia to film his first "mainstream" Chinese film.

categories Reviews, Cinematical