Jia Zhangke, A Guy from Fenyang ★★★★

A Guy from Fenynag turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise.

Ever since seeing Zhangke's masterpiece 'Platform' I've had a great respect for him and kept meaning to watch more of his oeuvre - yet I always felt apprehensive of his more recent higher production films - presuming them to be a step towards a more westernized approach; a direction that many Chinese directors who have abandoned their roots have gone in. For a while, I've slowly become aware of my misconception and realized that in the case of Zhangke it's not that simple, there is more depth and intention than I was led to believe. This portrait of Zhangke by Walter Salles strengthens this statement.

This portrait finds its strength in its intimacy. We visit Zhangke's childhood home, and we discover just how rooted his films are in his own personal experiences.

I believe it's very fortunate for the world to even be graced by a filmmaker like Zhangke and be able to gain insight into such a place and time that exist in is films - let alone get to witness and explore the backgrounds of his work - the actors, experiences, locations, relationships.

Walter Salles has done an excellent job, and now I shall fully abandon the aforementioned apprehension and presumptions and leap further into Zhangke's oeuvre.