This one stumps me a litte--I saw many themes/motifs and their reflections, but how it all adds together I'm not quite sure...a quest for bringing the past into the present, construction/deconstruction, nature vs. city, rich vs. poor, shots panning, wandering, back and forth...
Still life: 1) the painterly dimension of filmmaking; the camera settling on the immobility of scenes, the alternate boredom and vitality of a class of Chinese person whose life is structured around labour (and, hence, global capital) 2) life which still counts as life; life which survives and develops even as various forms of governmental demolition threaten to sever the populous from its forms-of-life
jia zhangke´s films don´t take me immediately, from the beginning, they grow in me slowly and crawl under the skin silently so i don´t even notice. it´s like when i read some of kafka´s short stories and the language and the subject seem perfectly ordinary and suddenly i find myself in wonder, how and where the course changed and i try to go back and read again in order to find that specific curve that changed
I'm glad someone here mentioned A Better Tomorrow, because it's crucial to interpreting the film at the political level. I think basically every English language reviewer of this film has completely missed the commentary on mainland/HK relations going on, manifest in the character of Zhou Lin. Not only does he perform as Mark Gor, his ringtone is the theme song to The Bund, a Cantonese drama [...]
Clever but non-politcal examination of the cost of the modernization of China economically. The things that are displaced; towns, people, husbands, wives, history, a way of life. Film moves at a slow pace yet certainly casts its spell over the viewer who can't help but be awed at just what a project the three gorges dam project is and just how heavy the human cost in finishing it is. Even more affecting 2nd time.
Zhang Ke presents us with a film that plays out like everyday life as lived under surreal circumstances. “Still Life” is an elegantly composed, poetic film about how it feels to exist in a place where change happens so quickly it can never be grasped and time is marked by what will be under water next week. See my review at: http://japancinema.net/2011/08/25/still-life-review/
An incredible work of cinematic art. The cinematography alone is astonishing at times. Zhang-ke Jia's Dong is a good companion piece, directed in the same year. The natural beauty of the Yangtze River and surrounding area stand in stark contrast to the increasingly rapid modernization transforming the landscape forever, as human beings are lost or even forgotten in such a whirlwind.
'A modern master of postmodern discontent, Jia Zhang-ke is among the most strikingly gifted filmmakers working today.' The New York Times. Still Life which won the grand prize at the 2006 Venice Film Festival is an intelligent film... Powerful story... Piece of art!