In this essay, I take a close look at three of Jia’s films that have prominently engaged the topic of home in relation to place, identity, and nation: Still Life 三峽好人 (2006), 24 City 24城記 (2008), and A Touch of Sin 天註定 (2013). Set at the turn of the twenty-first century, these films employ various modes of representation concerning the reality of space. Still Life, a quiet and contemplative cinematic essay on change and obsolescence, tracks two strangers’ separate journeys to the Three Gorges city of Fengjie as they look for their missing spouses in the disappearing land. 24 City combines real and fictional interviews with three generations of factory workers to offer a sweeping oral history of post-reform China. A Touch of Sin tells four seemingly isolated stories of crime that all culminate into sudden, brutal acts of violence.
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Menkus, W. (2018). Lost at home: Jia Zhangke’s journey toward modernity. Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, 15(2), 131-155.