This week the dGenerate blog is spotlighting Jia Zhangke’s rare and underappreciated film Dong, which is one of the newest additions to the dGenerate Films catalog. To commemorate the film’s availability, this week we are posting articles related to Jia as well as on art and artists in China, the central theme of this film.
Additionally, readers are welcome to send in links to their favorite or most relevant articles on both art in China and Jia Zhangke. Please share your links in the comments section.
In Dong, China’s greatest living filmmaker Jia Zhangke (Platform, The World) travels with acclaimed painter Liu Xiaodong from China to Thailand as they meet everyday workers in the throes of social turmoil. Read a full description of the film from our catalog.
Here’s what Shelly Kraicer had to say about Dong in Cinema-scope, while also discussing Dong’s companion piece, Still Life:
As Jia maps it, cinema does not divide neatly into fiction and documentary.Dong creates a subjective world, as much inside the mind of the artist Liu as outside in objective space. Still Life digs deep to reveal an underlying reality, mobilizing sophisticated formal strategies to create images of truth. These same strategies demand – or, rather, construct, during the process of watching – viewers who are ready to watch, absorb, and feel this vision. It is a vision of a man-made hell, of the monumental and limitless destruction left behind by a society rushing to tear up its foundations and gut its history. And it is a vision of embodied resistance – an individual, physical resilience that can spark an impossible, miraculous, but tangible hope in a world that seems to offer none.
Watch the trailer for Dong: