On March 8 the Museum of Modern Art hosted “An Evening with Jia Zhangke,” where the renowned director spoke about his career and shared excerpts of his work, including a four minute preview of “I Wish I Knew,” his new documentary on Shanghai set to premiere later this year. Jia Zhangke’s longtime muse Zhao Tao also addressed the audience about her role in Jia’s films.
The second half of the evening comprised of a conversation between Jia, critic and programmer Howard Feinstein (who programmed a Jia retrospective at last year’s Sarajevo Film Festival), and dGenerate’s Kevin B. Lee. Fortunately we shot video of most of the event, which are embedded below in several segments.
On-stage translation was conducted by Vincent Cheng Tzu-wen. Videos after the break.
Part 1: Jia reflects on how his formative experiences informed his work:
Part 2: Zhao Tao on her role in Jia Zhangke’s films:
Part 3: Lee asks Jia Zhangke about Zhao Tao’s significance to his work, and about Jia’s respective handling of professional and non-professional actors:
Part 4: Feinstein asks Jia about how he approaches individual stories to convey the larger social conditions captured in his films:
Part 5: Lee asks Jia to compare the Chinese independent film scene from when he began making films in the mid-1990s to the present day:
Part 6: Feinstein asks Jia how his films reflect the dynamic between Communist and capitalist ideology as it is found in China:
Part 7: Lee asks Jia about how a populist streak belies his arthouse aesthetic, and makes a special request (at 4:00):