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4.0
1,391 Ratings

Still Life

San xia hao ren | 三峡好人

Directed by Jia Zhangke
China, 2006
Drama

Synopsis

The film tells the story of two people in transit, a rural coal miner in search of his ex-wife and teenage daughter, and a woman looking for her estranged husband, set against the demolishment of Fengjie, a 2000 year-old city on the Yangtze River, in advance of its flooding by the Three Gorges dam.

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Still Life Directed by Jia Zhangke
In retrospect, the Jia film to be singled out as the Chinese director’s masterpiece, as it now represents a meeting point in his filmography. The early documentary-inspired approach that earned him the accolades of critics appears in this film married with the operatic and bombastic quality of his later films.
May 25, 2016
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It stands somewhat at the intersection of the director’s earlier, more distinctly fictional, narrative films, and with his more recent, documentary style releases. While there is a plot and characters, this picture also captures a specific moment in time and records a pronounced and profound shift in the Chinese landscape and the culture around the Three Gorges town Fengjie. In so doing, Jia crafts what remains his greatest work, and indeed, it is one of the best films of the last 25 years.
January 01, 2013
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To focus too much of one’s attention on the political arm of Still Life is to run the risk of missing Jia’s more intimate, overarching notion that even those closest to us – children, spouses, siblings – can pass through our lives like strangers… Jia draws a fine line between the corporeal and ethereal in Still Life, a fitting means of highlighting the inherent unbelievability of one’s way of life disappearing underwater.
May 31, 2011
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