Cinema Odeon > 18:00


Walter Salles
Introduced by

Walter Salles (on video)


Monday 31/08/2020


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Xiao Wu, Jia Zhang-ke’s first film, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 1998, the same year I came to the Berlinale for the first time (with Central Station). When I saw Xiao Wu and later Platform, I was completely taken by the visionary talent of Jia Zhang-ke. Sometimes we doubt that film is still be the place we can go to better understand the world around us. Jia Zhang-ke’s films are fundamental to grasp the complexity of the culture he unveils. He brought cinema back to where it belongs – to the heart of the discussion. The World and Still Life reaffirmed and deepened that perception. To a growing number of film lovers, Jia Zhang-ke has become the most important filmmaker of our time. This was the feeling that united us – Leon Cakoff and Renata de Almeida from the Mostra Internacional de Sao Paulo, Jean Michel Frodon and I. In 2007, Leon and I interviewed Jia Zhang-ke at the Mostra de Sao Paulo, thinking already of a book and a documentary on this remarkable, singular filmmaker. For Jia Zhang-ke, cinema is a medium for recording a memory that is at risk of erasure, the brutality of contemporary lives, and what will no longer be. His films offer a portrait of common people, those who, in his words, are “non-holders of power” in a world of accelerated deconstruction. His films are also a place where an entire generation expresses the desires and anxieties of their time. At the end of Still Life, we see a man walking on a tightrope between two buildings. The tightrope and its instability, with a man confronted with something that seems greater than him, is perhaps the meeting point of the characters in all of Jia Zhang-ke’s films. It is in moments like this that we realise his films are made of a matter that transcends a specific physical or human geography. His characters may come from the Shanxi region, but their existential quests have no borders and concern us all. 

Walter Salles

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Walter Salles, Jean-Michel Frodon. F.: Inti Briones. M.: Joana Collier. Prod.: Maria Carlota Bruno per VideoFilmes. DCP.