Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival 2006, Still Life is director Jia Zhang-ke’s unique hybrid of documentary and fiction — an empathetic portrait of those left behind by a modernizing society.
Great changes have come to the town of Fengjie due to the construction of the Three Gorges hydro project: countless families that had lived there for many generations have had to relocate to other cities. Fengjie’s old town, which has a 2000-year history, has been torn down and submerged forever, but its new neighborhood hasn’t been finished yet. There are still things that need to be salvaged and yet there are also things that must be left behind. In Still Life, such life-changing choices face both Sanming, a miner traveling to Fengjie in search of his ex-wife of sixteen years, and Shen Hong, a nurse who has come to Fengjie to look for her husband who she hasn’t seen in two years. Both Sanming and Shen will find who they’re looking for, but in the process they too will have to decide what is worth salvaging in their lives and what they need to let go of.
“Exhilarating, expertly choreographed and a movie to change one’s view of both cinema and life.” — John Anderson, Newsday
“More than a million people have been displaced in central China in the cause of generating electrical power to meet the needs of the future; Jia’s flowing river of a picture washes over a few of them as they adjust to life’s currents in the present.” — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
“An extraordinary glimpse into the psychology, subtext and austere reality of modern Chinese culture.” — Ted Fry, Seattle Times
Mandarin (with English subtitles)