Jia Zhangke: A Guy From Fenyang

FILM REVIEW: “Mountains May Depart” and “A Guy from Fenyang”

The latest film from Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke plays along with a documentary about him by Brazilian director Walter Salles

In late 2012, I interviewed Brazilian director Walter Salles for the release of his film adaptation of “On The Road.” Salles, A gregarious and thoughtful conversationalist, mentioned near the end of our chat, that he loves and misses books that filmmakers write about other filmmakers, and that he planned to write one about Chinese director Jia Zhangke (“Still Life,” “A Touch Of Sin”). “For me,” he said, “he’s the most important filmmaker alive.” Only a few years later, Salles made good on that promise. Sort of.

While there’s no sign yet of a book, we do have “Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang,” a documentary portrait by Salles of the revered filmmaker, screening this weekend along with Jia’s latest film, “Mountains May Depart,” at The Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium. For anyone who follows contemporary world cinema, or who appreciates entertaining, moving, and beautiful films, it’s the highlight of the weekend.