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Ash Is Purest White

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2018 Cannes Critics’ Panel: Day 5 – Jia Zhangke’s Ash Is Purest White

2018 Cannes Critics’ Panel: Day 5 – Jia Zhangke’s Ash Is Purest White

An habitual of both Cannes and Venice, now in his third decade of filmmaking, Jia Zhangke first arrived in Cannes for 2002’s Unknown Pleasures, then followed that with 2008’s 24 City, 2010’s Un Certain Regard selected I Wish I Knew, 2013’s A Touch of Sin and Mountains May Depart in 2015. This year, he presents his almost two decade spanning Ash Is Purest White – with wife-actress Zhao Tao owning the screen.

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With the first screenings taking place yesterday night, this two plus hour opus tackles several issues: feminism, expropriation, the changing face of China, and survivalism and takes the gangster subgenre in a new terrain in a mostly fiction frame (there is a splash of docu elements with lush design via Eric Gautier). Almost all of our jury sent in their grades and it looks to be among the favorites so far and in my case, a film I look forward to revisiting and deconstructing.


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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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