The opening credits of Zhangke's latest film, Mountains May Depart, don't occur until 45 minutes into the film, signaling to the audience that what we have been watching up to that point was, in fact, an extended prologue. Zhangke family melodrama spans three decades, and is divided into three different segments; 1999, 2014, and 2024, each shot in a different aspect ratio, widening the frame as the years wear on.
|Zhao Tao in MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART.|
Courtesy of Kino Lorber.
Zhangke captures a sense of melancholy about a nation for whom rapid change has created a loss of identity. He turns the film's melodramatic structure into a requiem for the China he once knew. Mountains May Depart is a film of cultural ennui wrapped in the tale of one family's struggles - creating a conflict deeply personal intimate. In that way, it becomes not just a personal tragedy, but the tragedy of an entire nation.
GRADE - ★★★½ (out of four)
MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART | Directed by Jia Zhangke | Stars Sylvia Chang, Dong Zijian, Liang Jingdong, Zhang Yi ,Zhao Tao | Not Rated | In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles | Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Kino Lorber.