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Sat-Tue, Jun 12-15


  • Dir. Jia Zhang-ke
  • China
  • 2020
  • 112 min.
  • NR
  • DCP

In Mandarin with English subtitles

  • Assistive Listening
  • Subtitled
  • Hearing Loop

Each screening includes a special recorded introduction from director Jia Zhang-ke.

The preeminent cinematic chronicler of 21st century China, Jia Zhang-ke (ASH IS PUREST WHITE), journeys home to Shanxi province and gathers three generations of China’s most esteemed authors — Jia Pingwa, Yu Hua, and Liang Hong — to evoke the legacy of the region’s venerated writer Ma Feng. Together with the region’s literary elite, the community collectively weaves a tapestry of testimonies poetically chronicling the country’s rapid transition from an agrarian economy to a modern, industrialized nation — a drastic cultural shift that began with the social revolution of the 1950s. In 18 elegant chapters — interspersed with evocative, impressionistic interludes — auteur Jia Zhang-ke’s moving document SWIMMING OUT TILL THE SEA TURNS BLUE explores a rich intellectual arts movement that flourished amidst an evolving landscape and soared beyond the reach of the Cultural Revolution. 

"An ode to the importance of art that is a work of art itself…. This generation of writers who grew up during and in the immediate aftermath of the Cultural Revolution essentially had to resurrect Chinese literature on their own." —Lee Jutton, Film Inquiry

“Moving and fascinating…. Jia’s subjects are, above all, creative writers, and the vividness, the vitality, the passion of their spoken-word dramas, delivered in a variety of private and public settings, conjure vast skeins of imagined images, which seem virtually superimposed on Jia’s scenes of the telling.”Richard Brody, New Yorker

“In this leisurely paced, quietly moving film, Jia pays tribute to writers who connect modern urban culture to its provincial roots, and the current era to one that’s quickly being lost to living memory.” —Godfrey Cheshire,

A middle-aged film, at once a nostalgic reckoning with one’s childhood home, in every sense of the word, and a legacy..” —Darren Hughes, Mubi

The Belcourt Theatre does not provide advisories about subject matter or potential triggering content, as sensitivities vary from person to person.

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