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2,025 Ratings

Still Life

San xia hao ren | 三峡好人

Directed by Jia Zhangke
China, Hong Kong, 2006


A town in Fengjie county is gradually being demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. A coal miner in search of his ex-wife, and a woman looking for her estranged husband, become witness to the societal changes as they visit the village to locate their respective spouses.

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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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What are people saying?

  • Henrique Barbosa Justini's rating of the film Still Life

    não à toa a tradução direta do nome do filme chama-se "natureza morta". se o que estava em jogo em Plataforma e Prazeres Desconhecidos era os jovens que assistiam à transformação da china, aqui o país surge como a impossibilidade materializada das mudanças. o cinema de jia trata principalmente disso: não deixar que as memórias individuais sejam naufragadas (neste filme, literalmente) pelo progressismo histórico.

  • astygianelysium's rating of the film Still Life

    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

  • kartina obskura's rating of the film Still 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

  • Lynch/Fellini's rating of the film Still Life

    The moment when A Better Tomorrow is seen in the background is when I knew I was watching a very bold and intelligent film!

  • Andrei Herea's rating of the film Still Life

    One of the few films I have seen in which with every movement of the camera, the director conveys and adds up to the general portrayal of 'modern' China with it's duality of destruction/reconstruction, whilst focusing on the harsh environment of the everyday man and woman in search of their past. Film as time capsule - It has it's representative example here.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Still Life

    In a way quite close to Angelopoulos' melancholic gaze, Zhangke's fine film depicts an environment (natural and social) bereft of moral foundations. Thus, the demolition analogy captures well both the disappearing town and the gigantic industryscape that devours men in alienated labor and women in alienated marriages. The scant fantasy elements though were quite redundant; as if the realism is not uncanny enough...

  • VincentVendetta's rating of the film Still Life

    It's all a question of architecture, of creation against destruction, of space in a big country, of small details pointing to monuments, of people and objects interleaving themselves from afar. Still Life maybe doesn't have the budget and bright aesthetics of Jia Zhangke later epics, it doesn't prevent it from being absolutely beautiful.

  • Kamran's rating of the film Still Life

    I'm amazed how well received this is. The impressive cinematography lacks care. Zhang-ke's overly neutral framing (a problem I had with Platform) gives the characters' emotions little expression. The shallow depth of field makes for a rather irksome aesthetic due to whatever high fps, telephoto lens is being used. A sense of reality without humility. Frustrating, because Zhangke is technically very skilled. 3/5

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