Mountains May Depart

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Mountains May Depart
Mountains May Depart poster.jpg
Chinese 山河故人
Mandarin Shānhé gùrén
Directed by Jia Zhangke
Produced by Ren Zhonglun
Nathanaël Karmitz
Liu Shiyu
Shozo Ichiyama
Written by Jia Zhangke
Starring Zhao Tao
Zhang Yi
Liang Jingdong
Dong Zijian
Production
companies
Xstream Pictures
Shanghai Film Group
MK2
Distributed by Sihai Distribution Association (China)[1]
Tianjin Maoyan Media (China)[1]
Ad Vitam (France)
Release date
  • 20 May 2015 (2015-05-20) (Cannes)
  • 30 October 2015 (2015-10-30) (China)
  • 23 December 2015 (2015-12-23) (France)
  • 23 April 2016 (2016-04-23) (Japan)
Running time
131 minutes
Country China
France
Japan
Language Mandarin
Box office CN¥32.22 million (China)
US$79,768 (United States)[2]

Mountains May Depart (Chinese: 山河故人) is a 2015 drama film directed by Jia Zhangke. The film is Jia's eighth feature film.[3][4] It competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[5][6] It has also been selected to be shown in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.[7] It was released in China on 30 October 2015.[1]

Plot[edit]

The film has three parts, set in 1999, 2014 and in Australia in the year 2025, respectively.[8]

The first part, set in 1999, focuses on twenty-five-year-old Tao (Zhao Tao) who works as a shopkeeper in the small town of Fenyang as she is caught between two possible suitors. The first being Jingsheng (Zhang Yi), a wealthy gas station owner who she feels little connection with but understands the ability he has to change her life. The second is Liang (Liang Jingdon), a poor laborer who Tao feels more closely connected to. Eventually confronted by both Liang and Jingsheng, Tao makes the decision to marry Jingsheng in the hope of leaving Fenyang.

The second part, set in 2014, focuses on all three characters from before. Tao, who is now divorced from Jingsheng and still lives in Fenyang. Jingsheng who is now remarried and lives in Shanghai and has become wealthy from investments. Liang, who has moved away from Fenyang and is now a welder in a neighboring city. Most of this second act focuses on Tao and Jingsheng's son, who is named Dollar, who goes to visit Tao in Fenyang. Dollar wishes he could stay with his Tao, instead of with his stepmother and father who he has grown to dislike. Tao compromises with Dollar and instead of sending him in a plane back to Shanghai, they take the slow train together so she can spend more time with him. As a parting gift, Tao makes Dollar a set of keys for her house so that he can return home whenever he wants.

The third part, set in 2025, focuses on Dollar in a futuristic Australia as he attends college. Still fighting with his father, Dollar wants to drop out of college and have the freedom he was never granted in his childhood. While enrolled in college he meets Mia, an older woman who he begins to develop feelings for and eventually begins a relationship with. Dollar shares with Mia how he still carries the keys his mother gave to him when he was young and how he fears she may die even though they have not talked in years. Mia convinces him to fly back to China with her so that he can see Tao. The film ends with Tao dancing to "Go West" and the viewer is never made aware if Dollar and Mia made it to see Tao.[9]

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film earned CN¥32.22 million at the Chinese box office.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Mountains May Depart holds a 79/100 average on review aggregation site Metacritic.[10] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote, "Jia Zhang-ke’s Mountains May Depart is a mysterious and in its way staggeringly ambitious piece of work from a film-maker whose creativity is evolving before our eyes."[11]

Scott Foundas of Variety states "Mountains May Depart is never less than a work of soaring ambition and deeply felt humanism, as Jia longs not so much to turn back the hands of time, but to ever so slightly slow them down."[12]

Derek Elley of Film Business Asia gave it a 5 out of 10, calling the film a "weakly written saga of friendship [that] goes way off the rails in the final part."[13]

Music[edit]

Go West plays a prominent role in the film, as the film opens to a scene on New Year's Eve 1999 with Tao dancing to the song and closes in 2025 with a scene of Tao crying and dancing to the song near the old pagoda. In an interview with AV Club Zhangke states that he was attempting to evoke a "collective history for that generation."[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "山河故人(2015)". cbooo.cn (in Chinese). Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  2. ^ "Mountains May Depart". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "山河故人 (2015)". movie.douban.com (in Chinese). douban.com. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Kevin Ma (13 February 2015). "Shanghai Film Group reveals forthcoming projects". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "2015 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Screenings Guide". Festival de Cannes. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Toronto to open with 'Demolition'; world premieres for 'Trumbo', 'The Program'". ScreenDaily. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Patrick Frater (19 May 2014). "China's Jia Zhangke Plans 'Mountains' Trek (EXCLUSIVE)". variety.com. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "A Glimpse Into The Future In 'Mountains May Depart'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-04-04. 
  10. ^ "Mountains May Depart Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  11. ^ Peter Bradshaw (20 May 2015). "Mountains May Depart review: Jia Zhang-ke scales new heights with futurist drama". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Scott Foundas (19 May 2015). "Cannes Film Review: 'Mountains May Depart'". Variety. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Derek Elley (21 May 2015). "Mountains May Depart". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  14. ^ a b (in French) Antoine Duplan, "« Au-delà des montagnes » : l’argent ne fait pas le bonheur de la Chine", Le Temps, Tuesday 26 January 2016 (page visited on 3 February 2016).
  15. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy. "Director Jia Zhangke on technology, relationships, and Pet Shop Boys". Film. Retrieved 2018-04-04. 

External links[edit]