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Ash is Purest White

Dir: Jia Zhangke, 2018, China/France/Japan, 150 mins, Cert: 12A

Sun 19 May 2019 // 18:00
Mon 20 May 2019 // 19:30 (cancelled)

Tickets: £5 (full) / £4 (concession)

A gangster’s wife stands on her own in Jia Zhangke’s expansive narrative of empowerment and survival, set against the tumultuous political and cultural changes of twenty-first-century China. Jia’s wife and longtime muse Zhao Tao, whose roles in his Unknown Pleasures and Still Life serve as inspiration, stars as a woman saddled with a mobster lover who’s seen one too many John Woo films; she first protects him, and then learns to fend for herself, across twenty years of changes.

“I now have forty-eight years of life experiences,” Jia notes of his latest epic, “and I want to use them to tell a love story set in a contemporary China which has gone through epic and dramatic transformations.” “Beautifully unsettling, poetic and dazzling, simultaneously dark and radiant, Ash Is Purest White will surely count as one of Jia Zhangke’s greatest films” (Le monde).

"Jia Zhangke's latest is further proof that Zhao Tao is one of the greatest actresses in the world." David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE

"Zhao Tao is Jia’s Joan Crawford, or his Gloria Grahame… whatever narratives ellipses Jia throws at her, Zhao Tao’s Qiao endures—through many reversals of fortune and changes of wardrobe." Jonathan Romney, FILM COMMENT


★★★★★"Richly novelistic...stellar performances of Zhao" The Observer

★★★★★"Strictly speaking a mob movie...you may also say that this is a contemporary masterpiece"  FT

★★★★★ "Above all things, this is a film about the impossibility of love" The Irish Times