MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART Granted Chinese Theatrical Release
It took several years, but Jia Zhangke is back on Chinese screens.
An October 28 Wall Street Journal piece reports that MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART, the newest film from one of China’s most internationally acclaimed filmmakers, came to Chinese cinemas on the 30th of the month.
The native release of MOUNTAINS comes after the controversial censorship involved with Jia’s last feature, 2013’s A TOUCH OF SIN.
Per the Oct. 28 Journal article, Jia Zhangke calls the homeland screenings of MOUNTAIN “a big victory of insisting — a victory for my film.” Jia’s body of work, including such highlights as PLATFORM, UNKNOWN PLEASURES and STILL LIFE, has seen him collect ample accolades worldwide.
MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART, the tale of a woman, Tao, across three decades, appears to be continuing the streak of success. In Taipei, the film was nominated for multiple awards, including Best Picture and Actress. It earned a Palme d’Or nod at Cannes, and was involved in Oscar talks.
Yet in spite of Jia Zhangke’s continued worldwide prominence, A TOUCH OF SIN wasn’t the first time the auteur had to battle with hometown censors. A 2011 Independent piece notes how the country “[slapped] Jia with a lifetime ban at age 30″ upon reviewing his debut, PICKPOCKET (1997). The article also notes that it wasn’t until 2004 that a Jia Zhangke film, THE WORLD, got Chinese distribution.
Jia Zhangke continues to be recognized as perhaps the preeminent director of the China’s Sixth Generation, alongside such filmmakers as Wang Xiaoshuai and Lou Ye. Yet political battles have kept many native audiences from seeing his films. Now, if for a moment, Jia’s art has come home.