Qiao is in love with local mobster Bin. During a fight between rival gangs, she fires a gun to protect him. Qiao gets 5 years in prison for this act of loyalty. Upon her release, she goes looking for Bin to pick up where they left off. A story of love, betrayal and loyalty set in China’s underworld.
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Far from being a mere symbol of feminine vulnerability, Zhao emerges as no less than the film’s coauthor, with her performance bringing grit to an action-melodrama hybrid that might otherwise register as a bid to endear China’s greatest art-house auteur to a wider commercial audience.
Ash is Purest White is plugged into the traditions of Hong Kong pop cinema not through a mere desire for hat-tip homage, but through a deep understanding how folklore and poplore color how people think about and envisage their lives.