Jia Zhangke's eighth feature is an intimate yet epic drama spanning several decades which charts the impact of China's move towards capitalism on the lives of one family. Divided into three parts (set in 1999, 2014 and Australia in 2025), 'Mountains May Depart' follows the life of Shen Tao (played by Jia's regular collaborator Zhao Tao) and her family through 26 tumultuous years. Perhaps his most ambitious film yet, Jia's film is an astute, humane study of how the emergent culture of capitalist materialism and the forces of globalisation have impacted on Chinese society and family life.
Potentially great film crashes and burns in the final third
- Mountains May Depart review by LC
I found this a frustrating experience. Divided into three clear sections, this film follows the effects of a love triangle throughout the years. The first two parts set in China are wonderful - moving, subtle human drama, well acted and with gorgeous cinematography. Sadly however, the final segment sees a switch to English language as we jump to near-future Australia, and suddenly it's all awkward, stilted dialogue, bad acting and unconvincing aging makeup. What a shame.