From Filmekimi

Jia Zhang-ke’s latest "Ash is Purest White" at Filmekimi

Jia Zhang-ke’s Cannes contender Jiang Hu Er Nv / Ash Is Purest White, recounts China’s transformation in the past decade through a romance set in China’s underground world.

Ash Is Purest White, tells the story of a woman who looks for her old lover after being released from prison and witnesses the change China goes through.

The inspirations to the film were John Woo and Johnnie To’s Chinese mafia films, the jianghus. Ash Is Purest White was awarded Special Jury Prize and Best Actress at Cannes by the International Cinephile Society.

Never ceasing to surprise his audience in all his films, Jia Zhang-ke’s A Touch of Sin and Mountains May Depart were screened at Filmekimi earlier. Director Zhang-ke describes his films as the story of “a couple who live on the margins of society¬—my lost youth and my fantasy about the future. To live, to love and to be free...”

The film’s DoP Eric Gautier had previously collaborated with Olivier Assayas, Walter Salles and Leos Carax. The leading Qiao character is based upon the female character played by Zhao Tao in Zhang-ke’s previous films, but whose certain romantic scenes were cut from the final versions.

The film’s Chinese title means “the sons and daughters of the Jianghu,” and although not sharing the same plot, has the same title with Chinese master director Fei Mu’s earlier film. Often referring to the Chinese mafia, the Jianghu actually means “rivers and lakes.”