Next Masters of Asian Cinema: 'Ash is Purest White' May 14 at the Pickford

The next Masters of Asian Cinema film is Jia Zhangke’s 2018 feature Ash is Purest White, which screens on Tuesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St. in Bellingham.  

According to series curator and WWU librarian Jeff Purdue, while the advance publicity for Ash is Purest White makes it appear to be solely a gangster movie, it is far more than a film about the underworld. Jia's latest film is part of his ongoing investigation of characters coming to terms with a rapidly changing China across different social strata.  The result is both something of a departure for Jia and also a kind of career summary, with particularly strong links to Unknown Pleasures, Still Life, and Mountains May Depart.  

Before this film, Jia’s earlier work garnered him international attention on the festival circuit. His 2000 feature Platform  was the first to star Zhao Tao, who has appeared in every film since,  and who also played the lead in The World, shown earlier this season.  An exciting and meditative film on many levels, not least in the ravishing visuals that have become a centerpiece in Jia's work, Ash is Purest White stars Zhao in perhaps her greatest performance to date.  

Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and Pickford Film Center, the Masters of Asian Cinema series features some of the best films in World Cinema.  Each film in the series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators.  Ash is Purest White will be introduced by series curator Jeff Purdue.