ACMI and AIDC present
Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue
Yi zhi you dao hai shui bian lan
Jia Zhangke (Platform, Still Life, Ash is Purest White) returns to the documentary medium with a story of modern China, seen through the lives and works of four writers.
Moving and fascinating.
Since the turn of the century, the multi-award-winning director Jia Zhangke has crafted a body of work that has illuminated a country and its people, through some of its most transformative decades. For many film audiences – especially in the West – his films have offered a fascinating window onto China. Much of this examination has been through the fictionalised lives of ordinary citizens but through his documentary works such as Dong (about the painter Liu Xiaodong) and Useless (about the fashion designer Ma Ke), the culture of the nation is revealed through portraits of its artists.
Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue, which premiered at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival, is a documentary unlike any other in our Non Fiction 2021 program. Told across 18 distinct chapters, it speaks to the dual power of art: firstly, as a way for the maker to express their artistry and emotion, and secondly, to observe the deeper effect that art has on a population. The four writers in the film are Ma Feng (b. 1922) who’s story is told by his surviving family members, Jia Pingwa (b. 1952), Yu Hua, (b. 1960) and Liang Hong (b. 1973). Through their personal recollections of life in China and intimate, beautifully shot images of everyday citizens, Jia Zhangke traces a fascinating literary and social history of modern China.
– Kristy Matheson, Director of Film Programs
READ: Jia Zhangke Paints a Nuanced Portrait of China’s Economic Boom
Anthony Hawley, Frieze, Oct 2020
READ: Retelling Stories: Jia Zhangke on "Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue"
Darren Hughes, Mubi Notebook, Oct 2020
Wed 10 Mar 2021
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Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian