Still Life

Still Life

Still Life

  When a film called Still Life, then it is no wonder that the camera stays in long, static shots and acting like images artfully arranged still life. Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke was for his meditative work even with the Golden Lion at the 63rd Venice Film Festival 2006 awarded. His film conveys a vivid impression of the province of everyday thinking and actions of China and the Chinese people far away from big-city glamor.

It begins on a steamer. The miner Han San-ming (San-ming Han) travels to the town of Fengjie in the Three Gorges dam on the Yangtze River. Large parts of the city Fengjie were flooded by the dammed waters already. Soon the water level will be further increased and all the buildings demolished under the new water mark. San-ming, Han is looking for his wife who ran away from him with his daughter 16 years ago. But the street where she lived, is long since gone down in the water. Since he first gets no new information on the whereabouts of his wife, he decides to stay in the city and distribute as a demolition worker his time. By chance he comes to his brother, who tells him angrily that his wife sometime in the next few months could again look to Fengjie.

At the same time the nurse Shen Guo-hong (Tao Zha) comes to town, also in search of her husband, who two years ago to go for a job as a sales manager for Fengjie and never again with her has reported. First, it seeks out the industrial company of her husband, but that is long since closed down. Then she turns to an old friend of her husband, who works as an archaeologist. From him she learns that her husband now works in a managerial capacity for the demolition Authority. When they finally reunited with her husband, could not be alien encounter. Shen Guo-hong runs away and goes for divorce.

Still Life / Sanxia Haoren told by the example of two people, the consequences of the controversial Three Gorges Dam project for the residents living there have. The intervention in nature is closely intertwined with the fate of individuals, their feelings and changes. The film is both a critical and poetic cinematic experience. Visually ensnared Still Life / Sanxia Haoren of Hong Kong by the cinematographer Yu Lik-wai artfully framed, picturesque composition. Total industrial ruins, nature and landscape of debris alternate with intimate close-ups of people in conversation, at work or at play.

The Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke was with his previous works on many major film festivals in the world represented and has already won several awards. Still Life / Sanxia Haoren is the first film of his, who is brought into the German cinemas. Jia Zhang-Ke develops his stories from the life of his countrymen. “I describe the problems of ordinary people in China,” he describes his work as a director. “I want to give them a voice, and continue to make such films.” In Unknown Pleasures (2002) he portrayed a hopeless young people in Platform (2000) an amateur theater troupe and in the World (2004) employed a theme park.

Still Life / Sanxia Haoren shows the realistic provincial China far the modern western which are now booming cities on the East Coast. The film is an absolute must for all fans of China and a moving meditation on the fate of the dam project affected people.

(Katrin Knauth)

Title: Still Life Original Title: Sanxia Haoren Country of production: China, Hong Kong Year of production: 2006 Length: (# ) 108 (min) of material: Dolphin Film Distribution

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