Movie Director Jia Zhangke and 'Still Life'

Updated: 2007-04-16 07:36

During the 63rd Venice Film Festival last month, Chinese mainland director Jia Zhangke walked away with this year's Gold Lion award for best movie with "Still Life." He's the second Chinese mainland director to win this major film award following Zhang Yimou, who won the award twice in 1992 and 1999.

At a press conference after the award ceremony, French actress Catherine Deneuve, who headed the jury that awarded the top prize, told reporters the beauty of the cinematography and the quality of the story moved the jury very much.

Jia Zhangke believes the jury at the Venice Film Festival voted for him because "Still Life" reflected the Chinese people's capacity for action and their ability to stay in control of their lives despite problems and difficulties, touching jury members deeply.

"Still Life"

The prize-winning movie is a documentary-style film shot in a village in the Yangtze River town of Fengjie, which was destroyed by the building of China's Three Gorges Dam. "Still Life" beautifully captures this town and the lives and relationships of those living within it. Even in the face of deconstruction, these people still try to pursue beautiful loves and lives. The film tells the love stories of two separated couples who meet again in the village. A miner comes back to the village to look for his wife, while another nurse returns for her husband. In the end, one pair of lovers chooses to reunite, while the other pair chooses to part. Nonetheless, the four all learn the essence of true love.

Like always, in "Still Life," Jia Zhangke insisted on his documentary-style of filmmaking and his focus on the ordinary lives of ordinary people in fast-changing China. For this purpose, he also insisted on using non-professional actors. In "Still Life," the lead role of the coal miner was portrayed by a real-life coal miner.


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