Still Life (Sanxia Haoren)
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Still Life (Sanxia Haoren)
Jia Zhang Ke's haunting minimalist drama Still Life (aka Sanxia Haoren) takes as its focal point the real-life construction of the Three Gorges Hydro Project and it accompanying massive dam over the Yangtze River in China (allegedly the largest manmade dam in the world) -- a project that required engineers to flood the surrounding territories, including the two millennia-old city of Fengjie. Jia interweaves two stories in connection with the geographical transformation of that area. In the first, Han Sanming (Han Sanming), a miner from northern China, revisits the vicinity after a 16-year… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"More than a million people have been displaced in central China in the cause of generating electrical power to meet the needs of the future; Jia's flowing river of a picture washes over a few of them as they adjust to life's currents in the present."
‑ Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Never has destruction looked more beautiful than the demolished buildings in Jia Zhang-ke's Still Life."
‑ G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
"A lyrical pic that brilliantly blends together documentary and fantasy to paint an evocative picture of modern China that is free from the usual Red Chinese propaganda."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Playful and moody, naturalistic and surreal, Still Life is a film not to be missed."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"Jia Zhang Ke is perhaps the most distinctive director working in China now."
‑ Wendy Ide, Times [UK]
"Simply one of the best films of last year, this year, or any year likely to come."
‑ Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly
"Writer-director Jia Zhangke is a keen observer of the effects of the break-neck modernization that is stampeding China toward a future that no one can predict, control, or contain."
‑ Jonathan F. Richards,
"Jia draws a fine line between the corporeal and ethereal, a fitting means of highlighting the inherent unbelievability of one's way of life disappearing underwater."
‑ Michael Nordine, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"The despondent tone is lifted by moments of hope and, surprisingly, hilarity."
‑ Patrick Peters, Empire Magazine
"Still Life is all about these common people existing in a world that seems more and more unreal"
‑ Chris Cabin,
"An extraordinary glimpse into the psychology, subtext and austere reality of modern Chinese culture."
‑ Ted Fry, Seattle Times
"Jia Zhang-ke is a new auteur making his mark. Embraced abroad on the international festival circuit, if less welcome on screens in China, this writer-director works in a genre that could be called globalist."
‑ Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times
"Observant and acts as a record of the inevitability of change, even ones mandated not by nature but by the government."
‑ Jeffrey Chen, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"Still Life is a moody undertaking, with little action but plenty going on."
‑ Liz Braun, Jam! Movies
"Director Jia Zhang-ke sees the urbanization of China through the eyes of the relocated laborers."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
More reviews for Still Life (Sanxia Haoren) on Rotten Tomatoes