Masters of Asian Cinema Tonight @Pickford Film Center
The next film in the Masters of Asian Cinema series (formerly known as the “Masters of Japanese Cinema” series) is Jia Zhangke’s 2015 Mountains May Depart. It screens today, Tuesday, November 15th at 6:30 pm at Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay Street.
Jia Zhangke is often described as one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. Starting in 1997, his first three features were made without official approval but garnered increasing attention on the international festival circuit. Mountains May Depart is reminiscent of his 2000 masterpiece Platform in that it looks at a changing China over the span of several years.
The story charts the lives of several characters from 1999 to 2025, most notably Shen Tao, played by the luminous Zhao Tao, Jia’s wife, who has appeared in every one of his films since Platform. Also featured (in the 2025 storyline) is the legendary Taiwanese actress/director Sylvia Chang. As with all of Jia’s films, Mountains May Depart manages to combine a sympathetic but unsentimental focus on the lives of ordinary people with gorgeous cinematography and formal inventiveness.
Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Pickford Film Center, the Masters of Japanese Cinema series was one of the Pickford's longest running and most loved series, featuring some of the best films in World Cinema with movies that span both decades and genres. The Masters of Asian Cinema series promises to continue that rich tradition. As series curator and WWU librarian Jeff Purdue explains,
“Far from living in a time of the death of cinema, as some film writers seem to love to claim, we’re in a golden age of film, though you might have to haunt film festivals and other out of the way places in order to find the good stuff. And that’s just what this series aims to do – to bring several films to town during the course of the year that might otherwise not come here.”
Each film in the series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators. This film will be introduced by Baozhen Luo, an associate professor of Sociology at Western and an ardent film lover. She was born and raised in China and came to the U.S. over 13 years ago to pursue her graduate degrees. She studies and teaches culture, community and citizenship in contemporary Chinese society and in the U.S. She uses films frequently in her teaching and research. Baozhen also hosts a column in Chinese for a digital news magazine based in Shanghai discussing social issues related to population aging. She has also given a TEDx talk exemplifying the impact of the intersectionality of classism, sexism, and racism on her personal journey of self-searching in China and the United States.
For more information about this series or to learn about upcoming featured films, please, contact Jeff.Purdue@wwu.edu.