Film festival is currently giving more voice to bottom level of social classes and marginalized groups of civilians, raising public’s awareness of unknown reality. Three famous European film festivals especially Cannes Film Festival concentrates on products which talk about ordinary or even poor people’s story and search what is the connection between them and the society and what bring them to that situation. Nothing like the commercial movies, as long as with enough efforts, any no-body can achieve his goals and realise his dream. To most of the bottom ladder of the social class, it is hard to change their living situation and no one would come and listen to their voice. In China where has a enormous population, sometimes people in remote areas can only bear pressure from various areas when they were born, including issues with finance, education, conventions and taboos. And because of the invisible restriction of national communication and broadcasting rules, directors could not reflect terrible issues in society on a micro level. And impacted by mainstream appreciation, more and more directors tend to shoot films about romance on campus and workplace which actually have limit value and educational meaning for viewers.
But Jia Zhangke is a special one who challenges the rules and tells unimportant people’s experiences about how they struggle to survive and fight to attain reply from so-called elite groups with excellent education, high paid and harmonious family and the government. His product covers most of his hometown Fen Yang, Shan Xi, expressing his homesick and his memory of loved home. As SOHU News(2018) reported, Jia desires to show the reality and he believes everything is based on reality. Before, when Hollywood block buster becomes a model for Chinese director to imitate and create unnatural, fictitious stories. Jia got lost at that time and with the help of another director Hou Xiaoxian, he realised that only realism is what should be told through depictions, anything happened around normal people is dramatic and most of them are like small boat in the rough seas. ‘So there should be at least one man to help marginal groups stand out by capturing and presenting their stories seriously.’ said by Jia.
On the 71st Cannes Film Festival, ‘Ash is Pure White’ is nominated in the main competition and this is the sixth time for his films being nominated. As WangYi Entertainment(2018) reported, in Jia’s childhood, he respected and looked up to a ganster in his town called ‘Xiaodong’ and Xiaodong was always calm and had a plan b whenever he met trouble. In Jia’s opinion, man should be like Xiaodong, having the characteristic of firm and brave, like he is not afraid of anything even if he fails. But when Jia met Xiaodong again after they separated several years, Xiaodong became a middle-age man, just bending to a squat and having noodles in front of a noodle shop. This scene shocked Jia and became a reason for him to shoot ‘Ash is Pure White’ as he likes to depict a ‘Jiang Hu'(an Chinese old-saying of society) and how time carved one’s personality and changed a man’s life as well. These years, Jia insists bring normal people’ experience to the public’s sight, taking initiative step to get closer to real life and get deeper to reality. In the future, I hope more films are focusing on unknown groups of people as their stories can deeply reflect the inside of the movement of the society, like mirror.
Ash is Pure White: An extension of the destiny, SOHU News2018, viewed 10 September 2018, http://www.sohu.com/a/232131239_240877
‘Ash is Pure White’ records wild past, Jia Zhangke depicts Jiang Hu stories, WangYi Entertainment2018, viewed 10 September 2018, http://ent.163.com/18/0911/11/DRDU1UOT000380D0.html