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‘Mountains May Depart’ Playlist Clip

Jia Zhangke scales new heights with MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART. At once an intimate drama and a decades-spanning epic that leaps from the recent past to the present to the speculative near-future, Jia’s new film is an intensely moving study of how China’s economic boom – and the culture of materialism it has spawned – has affected the bonds of family, tradition, and love. MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART opens in 1999 to the strains of the Pet Shop Boys’ “Go West,” a song whose promise of blue skies captures the dreams of affluence that seized so many Chinese youth at the turn of the century. In Fenyang, childhood friends Liangzi, a coal miner, and Zhang, the owner of a gas station, are both in love with the town beauty Tao (a luminous Zhao Tao, Jia’s muse and wife). Tao eventually marries the wealthier Zhang and they have a son he names Dollar. As the years fly by and some members of the cast do, indeed, “Go West,” Tao tries to keep her home and that sense of optimism alive even as her own son loses sight of everything in his childhood, save one mysterious song that haunts him. Lyrical, moving, and dazzlingly ambitious.

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