Three Films by Jia Zhangke

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Ribs
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Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#1 Post by Ribs » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:28 am

Jia Zhangke has become widely regarded as one of world cinema’s most accomplished filmmakers and a leading figure of the Sixth Generation movement of Chinese cinema. This collection presents three of Jia’s most compelling works together on DVD and Blu-ray.

In 24 City (2008) Jia skilfully combines documentary and fiction film as he charts the transformation of a military hardware factory into a complex of luxury flats, and the social impact this has.

The Cannes prize-winner A Touch of Sin (2013) focuses on four people living across China who are driven to acts of violence. An angry miner, enraged by corruption in his village; a migrant who discovers the infinite possibilities of owning a firearm; a receptionist at a sauna who is pushed to the limit by a client, and a young factory worker drifting through the foreign-owned factories and nightclubs of the south.

Jia’s eighth feature film, Mountains May Depart (2015) is an intimate and moving drama spanning several decades which charts the impact of China’s capitalist experiment on the lives of one family.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
Limited Edition Dual Format collection featuring exclusive content [2000 copies]
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of each film
Original 5.1 surround sound audio (DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-rays) for each film
Three interviews with director Jia Zhangke on each film, by critics including Scott Foundas and Tony Rayns
Introductions to each film by Tony Rayns
From Fenyang to the World: a visual essay on Jia Zhangke, looking in particular at his style and evolution as a filmmaker, by author Michael Berry
Jia Zhangke, A Guy from Fenyang (2014, 105 mins), a feature length documentary on the life and work of the director by celebrated filmmaker Walter Salles [Limited Edition Exclusive]
Trailers
Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films
Booklet featuring new writing on the films by Chris Berry, Geoffrey Macnab, Jonathan Rosenbaum and Tony Rayns [Limited Edition Exclusive]

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dda1996a
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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#2 Post by dda1996a » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:49 am

This just might be worth it for Salles documentary. I wish they managed to obtain the rights to his earlier films though

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#3 Post by rapta » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:15 pm

dda1996a wrote:This just might be worth it for Salles documentary. I wish they managed to obtain the rights to his earlier films though
Last I checked, Still Life is with BFI and the Hometown Trilogy (Unknown Pleasures/Platform/Pickpocket) are with Artificial Eye. Perhaps they will upgrade them to Blu-ray at some point, or lose the rights and a label like Arrow can pick them up.

In the meantime, this is great news. No idea why the original distributor of Mountains May Depart and the Salles doc - New Wave Films - lost the rights to them, and same goes for 24 City (which they released on DVD). Perhaps Arrow made them an offer for them, so they could reissue A Touch of Sin alongside them and produce this box set. Either way I'm happy to get them, especially since it means new extras and a booklet as well. Even the price is very agreeable!

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#4 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:50 pm

Also, the three Artificial Eye titles probably aren't "HD-ready," so to speak (i.e. no existing HD masters). There was also that Tony Rayns piece in Cinema Scope saying that Jia was planning a definitive cut of Platform, but it's been five years since and I've heard nothing else about it. Both this and Xiao Wu strike me as the sort of thing the Film Foundation might take on if Jia weren't so damned busy these days.

The Salles documentary is okay but frankly feels redundant after Damien Ounouri's Xiao Jia Going Home. Maybe I should regard them both as part of an overarching Up-type project where some documentarian accompanies Jia back to his hometown every ten years and we get to see how it's changed. I do wish they had added one or two of Jia's many shorts (am I ever going to see The Hedonists?).

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#5 Post by dda1996a » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:12 pm

Well I didn't know where I could see either doc, so getting at least one of them released is an improvement

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#6 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:03 pm

Kino Lorber released the Salles doc in the U.S., though they issued it as a standalone DVD-only release instead of doing the nice thing and including it as an extra on Mountains May Depart. (It's also on Netflix U.S.) Xiao Jia Going Home is on the French DVD of Still Life but doesn't seem to have had any English-subbed release outside of the festival/retrospective circuit.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#7 Post by M Sanderson » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:19 pm

Never seen any of his films. Very eager to get this box.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#8 Post by swo17 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:33 pm

Some of his earlier films might be a better starting point...

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#9 Post by Shrew » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:59 pm

Touch of Sin wouldn't be a bad place to start, but 24 City is a non-narrative hybrid of documentary and scripted interviews (with actors you may or may not recognize depending on your familiarity with Chinese film). It's actually closer to Jia's other work than sounds on paper, but I would not recommend starting with it.

The first two segments of Mountains May Depart aren't a bad entry point, but even the film's fans (of which I count myself) have to acknowledge the cringeworthy ESL dialogue and acting in the last segment.

The World (available on a region free Blu from MoC) is a better starting point, or Still Life.
Last edited by Shrew on Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#10 Post by knives » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:38 pm

I actually loved the use of ESL in it. Still, on narrative grounds, its a mess. A super compelling mess, but a mess all the same.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#11 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:17 pm

There are a number of movies that feature natural sounding English dialog by characters who are not entirely comfortable with English. In all these, the directors clearly told the performers not to worry about memorizing lines or making mistakes, but just to convey what needed to be conveyed in the way that seemed most comfortable to them. Consequently, the dialog feels "real" despite any imperfections. Best of these -- HUR Jin-ho's A Good Rain Knows. Unfortunately, Jia does not seems to have used this sort of method in MMD.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#12 Post by Ribs » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:48 pm

Somewhat unexpectedly, this set has not been delayed and will be shipping from Arrow next week

The following bonus features are added from the above:
-Two short films by Jia Zhangke: Cry Me a River (2008) and The Hedonists (2016)
-The Making of 24 City, a featurette on the film's production

I'm curious what disc the shorts are on - possibly on the doc's disc, to make it an exclusive? Or just put the earlier one of the 24 City one and the later on Mountains May Depart to make it "sync up" with their nearest film?

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#13 Post by rapta » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:23 am

Mine should be arriving on Monday so I'll report back as to where these are. I find it odd that Arrow don't update the listings to reflect additions of things like short films, even on their own site, as it's the kind of thing that might push people into pre-ordering titles like this. I was wavering a little with this set, but the addition of these shorts meant I didn't cancel my pre-order.

I remember something similar happened when Aquarius was released, and turned out to have some of Mendonça's shorts on it so I was more eager to pick it up.

PS: Also with the Jia set - I was curious to know why the Salles doc didn't have its own case, but it looks like they've either spread the two discs across two cases (swing trays) or put both inside the Mountains May Depart case (on a double swing tray). Probably to save having to make the set any wider, or maybe there was a lack of stills available or something (for the cover). I guess it's technically a Salles film rather than a Jia one anyway.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#14 Post by tenia » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:35 am

I found out over time that the Arrow Academy product pages are sadly aren't kept as up to date as the Video ones. I have the same other example in mind (Aquarius - which had I known, I would have bought the UK release instead of the French one to get the shorts -), but The Mystery of Picasso also isn't updated for instance.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#15 Post by Shrew » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:24 pm

Cry Me a River was on Cinema Guild's DVD of 24 City along with what I assume is the same Foundas interview, so now I don't need to hang on to that. I'd imagine it would just be added to that disk, but it probably thematically fits best with Mountains.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#16 Post by Ribs » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:56 pm


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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#17 Post by tenia » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:06 pm

I had a quick look at the booklet and this one is sadly symptomatic of how some booklets on the video market (not just Arrow) look like a neat addition in the package, but actually, it's mostly pictures, turning into a very quick read.
This one is 60 pages, so you'd expect it to last a bit, but it only contains about 15 pages worth of reading, so you'll be done with it quicker than expected, which is unfortunate.

The Salles doc is included on BD with A Touch of Sin and on DVD with Mountains May Depart (so these 2 cases have 3 discs).

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#18 Post by rapta » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:43 pm

tenia wrote:I had a quick look at the booklet and this one is sadly symptomatic of how some booklets on the video market (not just Arrow) look like a neat addition in the package, but actually, it's mostly pictures, turning into a very quick read.
This one is 60 pages, so you'd expect it to last a bit, but it only contains about 15 pages worth of reading, so you'll be done with it quicker than expected, which is unfortunate.

The Salles doc is included on BD with A Touch of Sin and on DVD with Mountains May Depart (so these 2 cases have 3 discs).
Another unfortunate result of the slim booklet is that they've ever so slightly overshot the measurements of the box set, meaning my copy arrived the other day and the packer had sealed it into the card mailer so securely that any weight put on the box meant it gave in because there was a slight gap in the set (they must've estimated the booklet would be thicker than it actually ended up being). So my box set arrived with a tear in the corner because the structure of the box had been compromised. Either that or the back wasn't glued properly in manufacture, but I suspect the former.

Anyway, I've returned it and ordered another copy, so hopefully I'll be luckier with the replacement. Aside from the booklet being light though, I have to say the disc extras are more plentiful than some of their previous Asian cinema sets, not to mention the price is very much worth the upgrade (since I already own A Touch of Sin, as many fans of Jia already will). The short films and documentaries added make this a no-brainer of purchase, in my opinion.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#19 Post by Ribs » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:13 pm

FWIW, Arrow's already listing this as "limited availability" on their store.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#20 Post by chucktatum » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:12 am

This looks like a great set and I'd love to get it but does anyone know how likely Arrow will release a U.S. version once the U.K. version goes out of print (like they did with Hellraiser)?

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#21 Post by nitin » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:04 am

chucktatum wrote:This looks like a great set and I'd love to get it but does anyone know how likely Arrow will release a U.S. version once the U.K. version goes out of print (like they did with Hellraiser)?
2 of the films are currently out in the US via Kino, I dont think an Arrow US release will be happening anytime soon if at all.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#22 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:24 pm

24 City is also out via Cinema Guild (DVD only). Maybe Arrow can do a dual-region release of the Hometown Trilogy, since it looks like the New Yorker and Artificial Eye discs are all out of print. Hey, I can dream...

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#23 Post by AidanKing » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:51 am

I wouldn't let the shortness of the text in the booklet put you off purchasing this set at all as the essays are all well worth reading and the booklet is as well designed as usual. I think it's a fairly exemplary set, to be honest, with excellent extras setting all the films in context, and the short films being a great surprise bonus, similar to the inclusion of short films on Aquarius. All in all, I think it's my favourite Arrow release since the Taviani brothers set.

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Re: Three Films by Jia Zhangke

#24 Post by tenia » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:02 am

I'm not saying the essays aren't interesting or well done, just that it's an awful short amount of material for a 60 pages booklet. 15 pages of reading, split between 4 articles, in a 60 pages booklet makes it as a whole way quicker to read than what one would expect.
I accepted some time ago that booklets (or small books) accompanying video releases were getting, as a whole, more and more padded with pictures, but I still expect the written material to account for more than 25%.

This being written, you're right about the video extras indeed, which probably makes up for it.

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