The Core of JIA Zhangke’s Work: Capturing “Contemporary” China in Film
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 (18:30-21:30)
United Cinema CANAL CITY 13(External link)
YUKISADA Isao(Film Director), ICHIYAMA Shozo(Film Producer)
ISHIZAKA Kenji(Prof., Japan Institute of the Moving Image; Tokyo Asian Film Festival Asian film director)

After showing Jia Zhangke’s film 'Mountains May Depart',the panel discussion with the presence of Jia Zhangke was held. In this discussion people debated the ' Jia Zhangke's world' widely including the origin of his film making process since his student time and his messages embed in his major works.

Mr. YUKISADA, Commentator
Mr. ICHIYAMA, Commentator
Prof. ISHIZAKA, Coordinator

Part 1 Screening of Mountains May Depart

A film capturing the emotions of people swept away by a changing society

The public lecture, held at United cinema CANAL CITY 13, began with a screening of the director’s Mountains May Depart to a packed theater. The work portrays the love between a mother amid the upheavals in Chinese society and her son, living in a distant land with his father.

It was an official competition entry in the Cannes International Film Festival, garnering the Taiwan Golden Horse Best Original Screenplay and Audience Choice Awards, the Asian Film Awards Best Screenplay Award, and more. The audience was enthralled for over two hours by the moving tale of the bonds of love in a changing society.

Mountains May Depart

『Mountains May Depart

China,France,Japan/Mandarin with Japanese subtitles
The work is about the parents and their son who has been taken in by his father and lived abroad as a young age after leaving his mother who stayed in the hometown in China while the country has been experiencing the massive change.
※ This work was selected for Official film competition section of Cannes International Film Festival, and won Best Original Screenplay, Audience Choice Award in 63th Saint Sebastian International Film Festival, Audience Choice Award in 52nd Taiwan Golden Horse Awards, and Best Screenplay in 10th Asian Film Awards.

Part 2 Panel Discussion

Films have a duty to record the shape of society

In the panel discussion, Professor ISHIZAKA coordinated a discussion with film director Mr. YUKISADA Isao, Mr. ICHIYAMA Shozo, who has produced a number of Mr. JIA's films.

Mr. YUKISADA began by praising Mr. JIA as a director who can truly portray China today, and drive the film industry in Asia. Mr. ICHIYAMA agreed, saying that he felt Mr. JIA was an outstanding director after watching Xiao Wu 〔Pickpocket〕, adding that he offers realism not found in other Chinese films.

Mr. JIA described his joy at receiving the Fukuoka Prize, explaining that he had come to love Japanese film through screenings of KUROSAWA Akira's Rashomon, and films directed by OZU Yasujiro, OSHIMA Nagisa, and others. "I feel I have developed together with Chinese society, and its changes have transformed me. I am fascinated by depicting Chinese society, and have tried to capture it in film from my first attempt. Films have a duty to record the shape of society, and tell us what types of people are living in it. I think OZU does something similar for Japanese households in The Only Son, for example. In China, the prime movie audience is said to be from 16 to 20 years old, and even though film is trending toward mere entertainment, my belief is that it should remain a mirror to examine society and the era we live in."

The commentators then introduced their own favorite films by Mr. JIA. Mr. YUKISADA selected Unknown Pleasures, praising it as a masterpiece in the 'teen film' genre. "The characters try to resist but cannot escape, revealing they lack of any vision for the future." A line made by one of the characters that "It's enough to live to 30" struck him as realistic, making the film unique. Mr. ICHIKAWA chose Platform, explaining that it was the first film they had worked on together and revealing that while "...his filming process is superb, my recollection is that it took an awfully long time."

In closing, Mr. JIA introduced his latest film, Ash Is Purest White, which was just released in China, leaving an audience eager to see his newest work

Scene of the panel discussion

Public Lectures 2018