Ash is Purest White (Hero).jpg
Ash is Purest White (Hero).jpg
Ash is Purest White, © Xstream Pictures (2018)

ACMI presents

Ash is Purest White


Jia Zhangke | China, France, Japan | 2018 | Unclassified (15+)

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Sun 11 Feb - Sat 24 Feb 2024

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Taking inspiration from the people and places from his earlier films, director Jia Zhangke has crafted a gangster film with an unexpectedly warm heart beating at its core.

This is one of Zhangke's peak achievements: pure cinema, and a story of the underworld unlike anything you've seen before.

Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune)

In the small mining city of Datong, local crime boss Bin (Liao Fan) reigns supreme with his devoted girlfriend Qiao by his side. Following a death in their ranks, the balance of power in the criminal world shifts leading to an ambush on the mean streets of Datong. In the aftermath, Bin and Qiao are sent down vastly divergent paths, and in the ensuing seventeen years, the two must fight for survival amongst shifting allegiances in a changing world.

Curator's Note

Ash Is Purest White is both a wonderful entry point for newcomers into the director's cinematic world and a cavalcade of rewards for those who have followed his career.

Featuring a career-best performance by actor and regular collaborator Tao Zhao as Qiao - she has appeared in most of Jia Zhangke's films to date - the film also returns to key shooting locations Datong and Fengjie from earlier films Unknown Pleasures and Still Lives in a beautifully intertextual reference to Jia's earlier work.

Ash is Purest White premiered at the 71st Canne Film Festival where the film screened in competition.

Format: DCP
Language: Mandarin with English subtitles
Source: mk2
Courtesy: mk2
Runtime: 136 mins

Event duration

136 mins


Unclassified (15+)

Viewers under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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