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  • 3.7
Noted Chinese artist Liu Xiaodong gives voice to the greatest themes in the opening film of filmmaker Jia Zhangke and his "Trilogy of Artists," a provocative documentary on the artistic process, the human condition and "Asia's state of mind" (as the director writes). A member of the Cynical Realist movement known for his monumental canvases and attention to human form, Liu (whose nickname is Dong, or "East") travels to Fengjie to paint several miners before their city is submerged by the Three Gorges Dam project; then he moves to Bangkok to depict twelve bar girls. "Two cities far away, yet I found the human condition is surprisingly similar," writes Jia, who filmed STILL LIFE in Fengjie while making DONG (and even interchanged scenes between the two films). "The vitality of life bursting out of people around you is wonderful, even in a deeply tragic environment, or a condition of utter despair," says Liu, with words that could speak for Jia's art as well. "You discover that life itself is truly moving." - Jason Sanders

Member Reviews (1)

I found this to be a very fine film, though the opening section is, perhaps, longer than necessary, and some of the scenes in Thailand play too heavily with cleverness, visually successful though they may be. I may be biased. I am much more familiar with the streets of Bangkok than I am with the Three Gorges.