Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue (courtesy Xstream Pictures, 2020)

ACMI and AIDC present

Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue

Yi zhi you dao hai shui bian lan

Jia Zhangke | China | 2020 | Unclassified (15+)

This event has ended and tickets are no longer available.









Wed 10 Mar 2021


See below for additional related events

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.

Richard Brody – The New Yorker

Australian Premiere

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

Format: DCP
Language: In Mandarin with English subtitles
Source: mk2 films
Courtesy: mk2 films
Runtime: 112 min

Event duration

112 mins


Unclassified (15+)

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


Get discounted tickets, invitations to exclusive previews, and discounts in our shop and cafe bar.

Become a member

Non-Fiction 2021 program

There are no upcoming related events at this time.

Plan your visit

Read our COVID-safe visitor guidelines, information on accessibility, amenities, transport, dining options and more.

Start planning