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Ash is Purest White

Rated Parental Guidance (Coarse Language, Violence) ~ Runs 136 minutes

Dir.: Jia Zhangke, China, 2018

Tao Zhao, Liao Fan
In Mandarin with English subtitles


“In Ash Is Purest White, a story of thwarted yet resilient love, Jia Zhangke, the revered Chinese director, subtly distills nearly two decades of gradual social change into the story of a small-town gangster and his moll... The movie opens in 2001, in the northern village of Datong, where Guo Bin, a member of the jianghu underworld, runs a mahjong parlor and enjoys the sycophantic attention of his comrades and underlings. But from the start, it’s Bin’s girlfriend, Qiao, who magnetizes the camera’s attention... A fiercely devoted partner to Bin, she more than holds her own in this masculine enclave, and her own belief in the brotherly codes of the jianghu runs startlingly deep. When Bin is attacked by local thugs, it is Qiao who fatefully intervenes and pays the steepest price. From there, the film undergoes a series of thrilling narrative reversals but always keeps Qiao at the fore... the kind of gutsy, lovelorn heroine who would be right at home in a 1940s Hollywood melodrama. Ash Is Purest White is fierce, gripping, emotionally generous and surprisingly funny.” - Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times



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May 19