Mountains May Depart

FilmWatch Weekly: DIY art is the order of the day

New movies from France, China, and Mars (sort of) hit screens this week.

Recycled TV shows may dominate this weekend’s box office numbers, but our focus is on filmmakers who utilize pre-existing materials in more literal ways, as well as those who explore recurring themes through constantly varying stories.


“Microbe & Gasoline”: French director Michel Gondry tells a low-key (for him) story about two misfits who become friends and build a tiny car which they use to escape their humdrum lives. (Living Room Theaters) READ MORE


“Mountains May Depart” and “Jia Zhangke: A Guy from Fenyang”: The newest film from the Chinese auteur, which takes place over a 25-year span, screens along with a documentary about the filmmaker, one of global cinema’s leading lights. (Northwest Film Center) READ MORE


“A Space Program”: Artist Tom Sachs has constructed several installation/performance pieces over the last several years that mimic trips to the moon or Mars, but with equipment made out of plywood, Tyvek, and other ordinary materials. This documentary chronicles his latest effort. (Living Room Theaters) READ MORE


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.


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