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Jia Zhangke Ash is Purest White

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2018: #9. Jia Zhangke’s Ash is Purest White

Ash is Purest White

Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke has been internationally renowned since 2000’s Platform, which also was the auteur’s first collaboration with his wife, actress Zhao Tao (she has since appeared in all of his films). After a five-year break between 2008’s 24 City and 2013’s A Touch of Sin (read review), Zhangke has been busier than ever, returning to documentary and short projects between narrative features. Last seen at Cannes with 2015’s Mountains May Depart, which saw the director dabble with some English language sequences, Zhangke announced plans to film a project called Money & Love earlier in 2017 alongside announcements of launching a film festival in Pingyao with Marco Mueller as the artistic director. The project has since been re-titled Ash is the Purest White, and is described as the director’s most ambitious project to date, a turbulent romantic thriller set in the criminal underworld and taking place between 2001 and 2017. Zhao Tao stars as a dancer who becomes enamored with a criminal played of Liao Fan (who won Best Actor at the 2014 Berlinale for Black Coal, Thin Ice).

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Release Date/Prediction: Despite being preoccupied with the Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival, Zhangke has already moved into production on Ash is the Purest White. Originally anticipated as a 2019 release, based on the post-production efficiency with Mountains May Depart, this could very well be ready for Venice 2018. Zhangke has competed on the Lido three times, winning the Golden Lion in 2006 for Still Life. Since then, Zhangke has gravitated toward Cannes, and with the exception of the 2010 documentary I Wish I Knew (which was programmed in Un Certain Regard), has presented narrative features in competition.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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