Jia Zhangke's The World

原创 2004年09月04日 00:43:00
Jia Zhangke's The World is in competition for  61st Venice International Film Festival.
Tao is living out her dreams at World Park, where visitors can see famous international
monuments. The pretty young dancer and her friends perform daily in
lavish theme park shows. Tao and her boyfriend, park security guard Taisheng,
moved to the big city from the northern provinces a few years ago. Now their
relationship has reached a crossroads. Taisheng becomes attracted to Qun, a
fashion designer he meets on a trip back home. Tao finds escape in child-like
flights of fancy when faced with what is expected of her as a woman. Tao’s
fellow dancers are on sentimental journeys of their own. Not everyone who
comes to Beijing with high hopes can land a job. Many, like manual labourer
Erxiao, experience a much harsher reality. But, despite the fun and magic, even
theme park microcosms are vulnerable to change.
Jia Zhangke was born in 1970 in Fenyang, a small town in the northern
province of Shanxi, a one-hour’s drive from China’s famous Yellow River. At the
age of 18, Jia Zhangke studied painting in Taiyuan. He developed an interest in
fiction, and wrote his first novel in 1991. Two years later he was admitted to the
Beijing Film Academy. In 1995, he founded the Youth Experimental Film Group,
the first independent production organisation of its kind in China. With the
group, he directed two award-winning videos. When he graduated in 1997
from film school, he made his first feature, Xiao Wu. He turned to Beijing city
life in Shijie, after confronting urbanisation in northern China in his first three
Jia Zhangke's soliloqury
«In 1993, I moved from northern China to Beijing to
attend university. My parents once travelled the 12 hours
by train to see me. We went to the then newly-opened
World Park in the Beijing suburbs. We saw its 109 smallscale
replicas of famous monuments, such as the
Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the White
House, Mt Fuji... It was as if we had travelled around the
world in only one day. I felt that the rest of the world
seemed close to us. However, in fact, the world was far
away. When Deng Xiaoping came to power, people
began to have new hope. The Chinese population, whose
lives had been locked up for a long time, could now
begin to think about the rest of the world with
excitement. As time passed, we were drawn further and
further along by the waves of rapid urbanisation. In
Shijie, I wanted to capture our soul-searching right now
at this very moment. After making three films in my
native northern China, I changed my aesthetic from small
towns to the metropolis. I believe that the idea of “the
world” is not so abstract. It can be seen as the other side
of town as well»

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