Ash Is Purest White

China/France, 141m, DCP

Showtimes & Tickets

Screened March 15–May 23, 2019

Set over a 17-year period beginning in 2001, this epic romantic tragedy from Jia Zhangke (Still Life, A Touch of Sin) unfolds with unparalleled precision and disarming pathos. In a career-high performance, frequent Jia collaborator Zhao Tao stars as the fiercely loyal girlfriend of a local gangster played by Liao Fan. Enduring a prison sentence on his behalf, she emerges to find a changed China. Gorgeously lensed on a mix of era-appropriate cameras by French DP Eric Gautier (Irma Vep), Ash finds staggering beauty in an increasingly brutal world. A Cohen Media Group release

In Mandarin with English subtitles

Official Selection: Cannes Film Festival, New York Film Festival

Jia Zhangke’s oeuvre epitomizes many of the most vital aspects of contemporary Mainland Chinese filmmaking: acute sociopolitical awareness, impressive acting, and a sui generis approach to genre storytelling influenced by a rich yet fragmented cultural history. Ash is no different, subtly mapping the seismic effects of China’s post-socialist economy over the span of two decades. It’s said that the flame that burns twice as bright lasts only half as long. Jia poetically asks what will become of the warm embers from such a fire; what of the charred hearts and souls that remain in a world still turning long after passion and ingenuity have gone? The result is a monumental work that will leave even those familiar with Jia’s oft-surrealistic sensibilities awestruck. 
—Kyle Pletcher, front of house staff.

A film by Jia Zhangke

Fierce, gripping, and emotional.”

Los Angeles Times