Amazing. Jia's films just get better and better. 24 City is not only the logical culmination of his hybrid technique, it is also his most profound and cathartic delineation of how The New conspires to supplant The Human in contemporary China.
China's transformation from rural communist industry to capitalist powerhouse is a topic that never fails to interest me. All of Zhangke's movies shows this transformation in brilliant fashion. I had a hard time distinguishing acted interviews from the real ones, which speaks to the power and mystery of these stories. Joan Chen's part was the best.
24 City answers the question: what does it feel like to be a robot keeping a giant machine alive? Much like Kafka's Castle, the robots don't know what the machine is, where it is from or what it is thinking.
24 City, with its documentary-style cinematography, blends an unique insight into the stunning socio-political and economic transformation of China over the past 50 years with the effects of the generational gap that ensued following these mammoth changes. The intimate & personal interviews reveal aspects of both sheer brutality and candid innocence in the lives of the people who helped transform XXI century China