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68th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Zhao Tao - A host of movie stars were snapped on the red carpet as they attended the 68th Annual Cannes Film Festival Opening Ceremony in Cannes, France - Wednesday 13th May 2015

Zhao Tao

7th Rome International Film Festival - 'Waiting for the Sea' - Opening Night and Premiere

Zhao Tao Monday 29th October 2012 7th Rome International Film Festival - 'Waiting for the Sea' - Opening Night and Premiere

Zhao Tao

24 City Review


OK
An intriguing hybrid of fiction and documentary, this film chronicles the dismantling of a notorious factory in Chengdu to make way for a new luxury community. It's skilfully assembled, but a bit dry for Western audiences.

As Factory 420 prepares to close, people recount their experiences. Born in the 1930s, He Xikun is the eldest former employee. Guan is a former security boss remembering the factory's role in the Korean War. Hou recounts her emotional experience in Chengdu. Dali (Lu) walks through the site to start a new job. Gu (Joan Chen) remembers her colleagues' efforts to find her a boyfriend. Zhao (Chen Jianbin) grew up in the factory and is now a TV presenter. And Su (Zhao Tao) is a young woman moving forward.

Continue reading: 24 City Review

24 City Review


Excellent
Perhaps I just have to say it plainly: Jia Zhang-ke is the most original and hyper-modern filmmaker currently at work in the foreign film industry. He is certainly the most perceptive and important director out of the swell of "Sixth Generation" filmmakers coming out of China. Speaking directly to his country's dead past, evaporating present, and the rampant juggernaut of progress, Zhang-ke conjures times, people, and places -- both invented and startlingly real -- but all very much of the beguiling now.

Still Life, the director's last stateside-distributed film object about the displaced wanderers surviving on the outskirts of the Three Gorges Dam project, demonstrated how very strange life in rural China has become. In Jia's new film 24 City, which takes place in Chengdu City, the most memorable images are more subdued and compacted: An assembly of workers singing "The International," a factory being demolished, Joan Chen playing a one-time factory employee whose co-workers remark that she resembles Joan Chen.

Continue reading: 24 City Review

Still Life Review


Excellent
Though it takes place in a real place and depicts the results of a real undertaking in the river city of Fengjie, China, Still Life, the latest unclassifiable exercise by the equally-unclassifiable Chinese auteur Jia Zhang-ke, has the look of a world that just barely has its act together. Populated by demolished buildings, flooded homes and displaced lives, Zhang-ke's Fengjie, like Pedro Costa's Lisbon, is a post-apocalyptic zone where people wander like ghosts in the rubble.

A surprise 11th-hour entry and Golden Lion winner at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, Jia's latest fluidly surveys the landscapes that have been continuously changing in Fengjie since the initial days of construction on the Three Gorges Dam in 1994. A manifestation of the last century in and of itself, the Three Gorges project was initially conceptualized in 1919 and survived over 70 years of protests and economic fumbles before Li Peng, the man partially responsible for Tiananmen '89, gave it the final go-ahead. And yet, Zhang-ke's tone is neither accusatory nor judgmental; the film is a documentary with two fictional beings roaming around in its periphery.

Continue reading: Still Life Review

The World Review


Good
Zhang Ke Jia's blistering cinematic criticisms of life in modern day China have made him an unpopular artist in the upper realms of Chinese government. He's been banned in Beijing three times. Only with the arrival of The World do Zhang's fellow countrymen get to see what he's been doing to wow the West over the past several years.

This time around, Zhang has created a long and free-floating visit inside the walls of Beijing World Park, a sort of low-rent EPCOT that features small-scale replicas of the world's great sites -- the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Manhattan skyline, complete with World Trade Center -- and offers its visitors the chance to "see the world without leaving Beijing," a particularly cruel fate from his point of view.

Continue reading: The World Review

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