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Xiao Wu

Director: Jia Zhangke
Format: DCP / Category IIB
Type: Screening
Length: 113 min.
Language: Mandarin (with Chinese and English subtitles)
Audience: Everyone
Location: House 1

Xiao Wu

Xiao Wu is a skilled pickpocket. In desperate solitude, he struggles to stay afloat—abandoned by his friends who have moved on from their delinquent past. Xiao Wu is forced to confront his fears of change after the police begin a crackdown on street crime and a blooming romance comes to an abrupt end.

Shot guerrilla style in 16mm, Xiao Wu was filmed in director Jia Zhangke's rural hometown of Fenyang, Shanxi province. Jia’s raw yet beautifully ethereal images, cast of amateur actors, and lifelike cinematic sequences with ambient background noise, showcase his attentiveness to the texture of quotidian life of the underclass. Xiao Wu proved to be a major international success, winning awards at major festivals around the world, and placed Jia Zhangke as one of the most important filmmakers who captured the upheaval of contemporary Chinese society.

This screening at M+ will present the latest 2020 remastered 4K version of the film.

The screening on 8 June will be followed by a post-screening talk in Mandarin with Jia Zhangke (via video call), Li Cheuk-to, M+ Curator of Hong Kong Film and Media, and Pi Li, M+ Sigg Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial Affairs. Simultaneous interpretation in English will be available.

Directed by Jia Zhangke. Xiao Wu, 1997. Photo: Courtesy of Edko Films Ltd.

Directed by Jia Zhangke. Xiao Wu, 1997. Photo: Courtesy of Edko Films Ltd.

About the Director

Jia Zhangke (b. 1970, Fenyang) graduated from the Beijing Film Academy and is widely regarded as a leading figure in Chinese cinema since his debut feature, Xiao Wu (1998). Mixing fiction and documentary, his film Still Life won the Golden Lion at Venice in 2006. A Touch of Sin received the award for Best Screenplay at Cannes in 2013. Mountains May Depart (2015) and Ash Is Purest White (2018) also competed at Cannes.

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