I Wish I Knew

critic Reviews

100% Fresh Tomatometer Score100%
  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Robert AbeleLos Angeles Times
    The resulting mix of image and interview, weariness and wonder, makes for a sober assessment of just how much change China's largest city has been through since the 1930s...
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Joshua BrunstingThe CriterionCast
    Making its theatrical debut stateside a decade after bowing at the Cannes Film Festival, Jia Zhangke's documentary is a masterpiece worthy of (re)discovery.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Lee JuttonFilm Inquiry
    One of the more poetic documentaries I have ever seen, I Wish I Knew is an ode to the impact one city has had, across so many decades, on so many lives.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Jonathan RomneyFilm Comment Magazine
    Ending a minor but fascinating film in Jia's provocative oeuvre, the images of these sleepers are a prelude to the other troubled dreams of China (A Touch of Sin, Mountains May Depart, Ash Is the Purest White) that he has made since.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Amy TaubinArtforum
    One of Jia's directorial gifts, as he has proven in his documentary, fiction, and hybrid films, is to capture human beings in all their complexity and mystery no matter how brief their appearance before the camera.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Glenn KennyRogerEbert.com
    I Wish I Knew functions as an admirable cinematic tone poem about a place and its times.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Sean GilmanMUBI
    Weaving a beautiful, dreamlike path through history, I Wish I Knew is less documentary as essay film than documentary as prose poem, its meandering reinforced by Lim Giong's delicate, melancholy score and Zhao Tao's presence...
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Manohla DargisNew York Times
    Jia is building not just a portrait of a city, but of a fragmented people - one story and memory at a time.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Lawrence GarciaAV Club
    [A]n expansive exploration of Shanghai as a cultural center shaken by converging historical forces.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Richard BrodyNew Yorker
    The poignant historical ironies of the Chinese director Jia Zhangke's documentary, commissioned by last year's Shanghai World Expo, begin with the title...
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