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The Close-Up: Jia Zhang-ke on Documentary, Chinese Cinema, and Revolution

Jia Zhang-ke with Richard Peña and Kent Jones at the 2008 New York Film Festival. Photo by Godlis.

This week's episode of our podcast The Close-Up features an archival conversation with Jia Zhang-ke, one of the most influential filmmakers in modern Chinese cinema. Jia is receiving the prestigious Carrosse d’Or (Golden Coach) award during this month's Cannes Film Festival and his latest film, Mountains May Depart, is also screening in competition. 

Jia Zhang-ke is one of the leading figure of the "Sixth Generation" of Chinese cinema, and we've welcomed him to the Film Society many times over the years. Back at the 2008 New York Film Festival, he came to present his documentary-fiction hybrid 24 City, which deals with the changing industrial landscape of Chengdu as a factory is torn down and replaced by luxury flats.

The film screened as part of the festival's main slate and, during his visit, the director sat down with critic Scott Foundas for one of our HBO Directors Dialogues. During the conversation, he discussed his beginnings as a filmmaker at the Beijing Film Academy, his criticisms of the "Fifth Generation" of Chinese filmmakers, and his singular approach to nonfiction filmmaking. 

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