(2015, 125 mins, DCP)
In Cantonese with English subtitles
CAST Tao Zhao, Zhang Yi, Liang Jin Dong, Sylvia Chang, Dong Zijian
From the first, Jia Zhangke (A Touch of Sin; Platform) has taken the long view. Before any other filmmaker, he appreciated that China’s shift to become the industrial powerhouse of the 21st century demanded the kind of epic and muscular artistic scrutiny Zola and Dickens lavished on earlier epochs. In this, his eighth feature, Jia takes the pulse of the times at three intervals: at the turn of the millennium, in 2014, and in 2025.
In 1999, Shen Tao (Jia’s regular muse, Tao Zhao) is courted by both the easygoing Liangzi (Liang Jin Dong), and Zhang (Zhang Yi), an ambitious entrepreneur. Tao seems perfectly content with the status quo, but her admirers fall out, and pressured to choose, Tao agrees to marry Zhang. The repercussions of this choice – which also represents China’s embrace of capitalism – resonate through the years, and play out dramatically in the displacement of her only son, Dollar. Far-reaching and very moving, Mountains May Depart should be seen as another chapter in one of the most important bodies of work in today’s cinema. As to the title, Jia explains: "Mountains may depart; relationships may endure."
Selected filmography: A Touch of Sin (2013), Still Life (2006), The World (2004), Platform (2000)
A work of soaring ambition and deeply felt humanism.” Scott Foundas, Variety
"With audacious leaps of time and intimate echoes spanning a quarter century of intertwined lives, the director Jia Zhangke endows this romantic melodrama with vast geopolitical import." Richard Brody, New Yorker