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Variety Review: ‘Ash Is Purest White’

Variety

“Ash Is Purest White,” Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke’s most serious foray into the gangster genre since “A Touch of Zen,” is a winding tale of love, disillusionment and survival that again represents his vision of his country’s spiritual trajectory. More expository and down-to-earth than usual, Jia delves deep into the protagonists’ most vulnerable feelings as they pay dearly for both sin and honor. At 141 minutes, the work has its intellectually ponderous moments but is ultimately saved by Jia’s muse and wife, Zhao Tao, who surpasses herself in a role of mesmerizing complexity.

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