Pickpocket (2160x1023)
Pickpocket (2160x1023)
Pickpocket, © Hu Tong Communications (1997)

ACMI presents



Jia Zhangke | China | 1997 | Unclassified (15+)

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ACMI Member



Sat 24 Feb 2024

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Recently restored in glorious 4K, Jia Zhangke's debut feature follows a pickpocket who finds himself enduringly out of step with the world around him.

Jia's restrained yet fierce X-ray of the ills of modern China also evokes a calm, intimate tenderness for its struggling survivors.

Richard Brody (The New Yorker)

It's the late eighties and times have changed for Xiao Wu (Wang Hongwei), a petty criminal living in provincial China. His pickpocketing colleagues have moved on to new entrepreneurial lives and now distance themselves from him. When he discovers that one friend has decided not to invite him to his wedding, Xiao Wu is left abandoned.

From his isolated stasis, a chance at human connection beckons when the hostess from a local karaoke bar enters his life.

Curator's Note

Filmed on a shoestring budget shortly after graduating from film school, Jia Zhangke's debut feature film is an archetype of China's Sixth Generation of filmmakers. Filmed underground and without government support, awareness, or local distribution, the film found a local Chinese audience via an active bootleg market and international acclaim following a revelatory international premiere in Berlin.

Reece Goodwin, Curator (Film & TV)

Format: DCP
Language: Mandarin with English subtitles
Source: Cineteca di Bologna
Courtesy: Cineteca di Bologna
Runtime: 108 mins

Event duration

108 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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