Ash Is Purest White

"This is not the sort of movie that offers up immediate gratifications, though there are some of those. Instead, it moves along with a steady grace. Its ruminative power creeps up on you." Christian Science Monitor

Showing Times

Sat 04 May 20:15
Sun 05 May 16:20
Tue 07 May 20:30
Wed 08 May 20:30
Thu 09 May 18:15

This is a helter skelter human history of the last 20 years in China, told compellingly through the story of a young woman.  Qiao (Zhao Tao) is the devoted partner of respected local gang boss, Bin (Liao Fan). The Jianghu brotherhood of which he's boss owes much of its propserity to the distribution of illegal alcohol - look out for the gang's toast to loyalty - although they appear to also have interests in clubland and interminable games of Mah Jong!  Violent change is signalled when Bin suffers a random attack by a new generation of mobsters, and Qiao makes a choice which alters the paths of both their lives.  

Qiao's choice is also a plot device which allows director Jia Zhangke (Still Life, A Touch of Sin) to then place her at the centre of rapid industrial development and human displacement, and in the explosion of materialism and the erosion of traditional beliefs and values.  Via Qiao's story, we're treated to Jia's critique of the high cost of China's progress, but it is always the human drama which drives this epic vision. It's hard to think of a scene which Zhao is not at the centre of, and she delivers up a stunning performance.  This is completely engrossing melodrama on a grand scale, a magisterial work from a world class filmmaker.  Enjoy the journey; such films only come along once in a very long while.


Film Information

136 mins

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