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JIA ZHANG-KE

Born in 1970 in Fengyang, Shanxi Province, China. Lives in Beijing, China.

 

Black Breakfast, 2008

 

A tourist, equipped with a camera and a tour guide, arrives in a provincial town where she hopes to see a city full of cultural relics and historic sites. But, contrary to her expectation, she finds herself in an industrial urban area, with blurred and patchy road signs eroded by smoke and pollution. The tourist, by instinct, takes pictures of these city signs: stop, street and road signs. Later, leaving the city, she waits for a bus on a highway, where an endless stream of heavy lorries carrying coal pass, and the cloud of coal dust flies over the sky in a spectacular scene. As the cloud disperses, she notes a group of workers eating breakfast in the coal dust: their faces are of the colour of coal and hardly recognizable. Sitting in the dust among them, she has to enjoy a “black breakfast”, her face as black as those of the locals.

 

Jia Zhang-ke is considered a leading figure of the "Sixth Generation" of Chinese directors. His films address themes of alienated youth, and contemporary Chinese history and globalization, characterized by long-takes, colourful digital video and his minimalist/realist style. Jia first appeared on the Chinese film scene in the  late 1990s and early 2000s with independent features including Platform and Unknown Pleasures, internationally acclaimed despite their limited theatrical runs throughout the world and their underground existence in China. In 2004 his film The World – his first film made with official approval by the Chinese government - was nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. In 2006, he won the Golden Lion for his film Still Life. In 2008, he contributed to the  film project Stories on Human Rights, produced by ART for The World.

Black Breakfast, 2008
China, HD, col., 3min.
episode from the film Stories
on Human Rights, An ART for The World production, Geneva