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China, 2002 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus)

Director: Zhang Ke Jia

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 feature - in Official Competition at Cannes this year, where it was nominated for the Palme D'Or - again proves his ability to hold a light to China's alienated rural youth.

Set in Datong, closer to Mongolia than Beijing, jobless and aimless Xiao Ji and Bin Bin have plenty of time to wander town on motorbikes and hang out at the recreational centre. Xiao Ji puts the move on Qiao Qiao, a dancer-model who's landed a gig promoting Mongolian King Liquor. That Qiao Qiao has a thug boyfriend doesn't seem to bother Xiao Ji. Meanwhile, Bin Bin's mother thinks a life in the army is what her son most needs. But Bin Bin doesn't believe in the future, and Xiao Ji doesn't see the point living past 30.

"The English title of my film is the result of an observation I made about contemporary China. To avoid falling into hopelessness, people throw themselves into the frenzied search for pleasure. And luckily, they have time to waste their money!" - Jia Zhang-Ke

Paul Yi (executive producer) is a guest of the Festival

Jia Zhang-ke (born in Fenyang, China, 1970) received international attention with Pickpocket (1997) and Platform (MIFF 2000). Unknown Pleasures is his third film.

See also...


Spanning the decade between 1979 and 1989, Jia Zhang Ke's second feature is a chronicle of social change, from Maoist fanaticism to capitalist indolence, as traced through a group of young performers ... More »


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 »


"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 »


“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 »


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 ... 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 »

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