Jia Zhang-ke is one of the world’s great filmmakers and Ash is the Purest White is a brilliant example of his mastery. It is part martial arts gangster thriller, part love story, part social critique, the part awesomely beautiful. Told in three sections, it portrays the tortured relationship between Qiao, a tough young woman, and Bin, a low-level mobster in 2001, in 2006, and finally in 2018 when changes in China have so altered the mores of a nation that it seems China has swallowed America whole. A Palme d’Or nominee at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Zhao Tao, Liao Fan
Mandarin (with English subtitles)