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China, 2004 (MIFF 2005, Horizons: New Chinese Cinema)

Director: Zhang Ke Jia


Festival guest Jia Zhang-ke arrived onto the international cinema scene with Pickpocket (1997), influenced most evidently by the work of Robert Bresson. Made well outside the state system, the film was awarded prizes at several international film festivals, including at Berlin and Pusan. Xiao Wu engages in the time-honoured art of the pickpocket, fleecing at every opportunity those who visit Fenyang. He can be hostile and intimidating, but he is also likeable and has his own moral code guiding his dubious activities. But times are getting tough for Wu. His best friend thinks of himself as a 'model entrepreneur' and will no longer consort with Wu; his family is falling apart; his relationship fails with the karaoke hostess he has befriended; and now he's in trouble with the law. Combining essayist filmmaking with a social realism, Pickpocket uses a superb non-professional cast to deftly tell the tale of identity made, unmade and remade in provincial modern China.

D Jia Zhang-ke P Li Kitming S Jia Zhang-ke WS Celluloid Dreams L Mandarin w/English subtitles TD 16mm/col/1997/107mins

See also...


The World is the first film of Jia Zhang-ke - MIFF filmmaker in focus - made with the tacit approval of the authorities. It is also his first film to be released in China. The World is set in World ... More »


Jia Zhang-ke's Unknown Pleasures depicts a trough of aimlessness. This third feature by Jia - in Official Competition at Cannes 2002 - again proves his ability to hold a light to China's alienated ... More »


Platform (MIFF 01) is Jia Zhang-ke's ambitious follow-up to his highly successful debut, Pickpocket. Set over 1979 to 1989, it explores the tensions in expectations and world-views that emerge as ... More »


“Clothes, a layer of substance in close contact with our skins, also have memories.” - filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke ... Jia Zhang-ke (Still Life, MIFF 07) picks at the fabric of the textile industry of ... More »


Last year Jia Zhang-Ke captivated MIFF audiences with Platform, a politically charged epic concerning a troupe of young performers in rural Shanxi province. The young Chinese filmmaker's third ... More »


"Mr. Jia is working at the border where fiction and nonfiction meet, which is where this fantastically surreal country itself seems to exist." - New York Times ... For six decades Factory 420 in ... More »

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