While a student at the Beijing Film Academy, Jia would make three short films to hone his skills. The first, a ten minute short documentary on tourists in Tiananmen Square entitled One Day in Beijing, was made in 1994 on self-raised funds. Though Jia has referred to his first directorial effort as inconsequential and “naive”, he also described the short day and half shoot as “excitement…difficult to express in words.” But it was Jia’s second directorial effort, the short film Xiao Shan Going Home (1995), that would bring him to the attention of the film world. It was a film that helped establish Jia’s style and thematic interests and, in Jia’s words, was a film that “truly marks the beginning of my career as a filmmaker.” Xiao Shan would eventually to screen abroad where it won a top prize at the 1997 Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Awards. More significantly, the film’s success brought Jia in contact with cinematographer Yu Lik-wai and… read more
Suggested reading: Jia Zhangke's 'Hometown Trilogy': Xiao Wu, Platform, Unknown Pleasures by Michael Berry (British Film Institute).
One of the few true 21st Century filmmakers. A living, breathing cinema, all inclusive yet wholly his, attuned to his nation yet effortlessly universal. Platform and Unknown Pleasures are among the greatest of cinema.