A film by Jia Zhang-Ke

Cast : Zhao Tao

drama. romance / Chine / original title : CAUGHT BY THE TIDES / Color / status : completed / Mandarin / long feature-film

An enduring but fragile love story shared by Qiaoqiao and Bin, set in China, from the early 2000s to the present day. Caught up in each other, Qiaoqiao and Bin enjoyed all that the city had to offer, singing and dancing. Until one day, Bin finds himself wanting to try his luck in a bigger place than Datong. He left without any notice. Some time later, Qiaoqiao decides to go on a journey to look for him.

Traversing all of his past films, Jia Zhangke delivers an epic look at the romantic destiny of his perennial heroine, Qiaoqiao. Spanning 21 years of a country going through profound transformation, the film gives a new perspective to look into the contemporary China as well as the individual experiences under the turbulent emotional and social changes. 

By the multi-award-winning director of Still Life (Venice Golden Lion), A Touch of Sin (Cannes Best Screenplay) and Ash is Purest White (Cannes Competition). 


“Jia Zhangke weaves a shimmering new tapestry from threads of his previous films. An epic, lyrical drama that is both Chinese master Jia's career-retrospective reinvention and a defining portrait of modern China. Mesmerizing. A masterfully poetic and pioneering fusion of the old and the new. The most definitive national portrait that Jia, modern China’s foremost cinematic chronicler, has ever delivered. A powerfully coherent portrait of a single woman, from youth to middle age. So uncannily successful. After this majestic work of melancholic retrospection, Jia seems free to turn toward the future as the winds settle and the tide recedes, and the beach looks like a stretch of limitless unsullied possibility.”


“Ebbs and flows like poetry. This new feature looks back not only on recent national history but also on Jia’s entire filmography. In terms of scope, that approach almost gives it a kinship with Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. Jia’s use of hypnotic slow pans conveys a sense of much time passing, with a poignancy reflected in Lim Giong’s lovely score. Nowhere is this more evocative than in the many travel sequences, shimmering images, which appear almost as if they are underwater, a gorgeous example of the way Jia manipulates the visuals to convey the emotional distance of time.”


“A drifting portrait of love across time... Jia's latest revisits some of the most pivotal characters and locations that have defined his movies over the last two decades. Tracing the faintest contours of a scripted love story around the scaffolding of some footage collected over 22 years, this elusive chimera of a film strains to literalize the delicate relationship between time and memory.”


“Two-decade relationship tells the story of China’s epic transformation. A mysterious quest narrative with a dynamic, westernised musical score. It tells a human story of a failed romance and brings this into parallel with the awe-inspiring scale of millennial change that has transformed China. This is another deeply felt film from Jia Zhangke, with a very contemporary artistry.”


“The film’s larger narrative is the march of time itself. The director uses the passage of time to review his own history in cinema. The film is at its best when it is giving us a clean, beautifully cinematographic frame, which Jia never struggles to do, regardless of where we are in the timeline. Zhao Tao can do so much with her eyes — even when she wears an N95 mask. Her performance anchors the film.”



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