Still Life

Watch Still Life

  • NR
  • 2006
  • 1 hr 48 min
  • 7.3  (7,158)
  • 81

The movie Still Life, directed by Jia Zhangke, explores the effects of modernization on China through the stories of two individuals searching for loved ones in a rapidly changing environment. The movie was released in 2006 and stars Tao Zhao, Zhou Lan, and Sanming Han. Set against the backdrop of the Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze River, the movie follows the lives of two protagonists, Sanming and Shen Hong. Sanming is a coal miner who returns to the city of Fengjie in search of his ex-wife and daughter. Meanwhile, Shen Hong is a nurse who arrives in the city looking for her husband, who she believes is still living there.

Both characters are seeking answers to their past, but find themselves in a city that is undergoing rapid change due to the construction of the dam. The city is being demolished, and many of its residents are being relocated to new housing complexes. The two protagonists become lost in the city's winding alleys and abandoned buildings, encountering people who have been left behind by the government's relocation efforts.

The film uses a combination of documentary-style footage and fictional storytelling to create a hybrid narrative that is both poetic and realistic. The camera lingers on the faces and bodies of the protagonists, as they navigate the ruins of a city that is slipping away from them. The film's slow pace allows for moments of reflection and introspection, as well as humor and pathos.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is its use of color. The city is painted in muted tones of red and gray, and the Yangtze River is an ominous shade of brown. However, amidst the rubble and decay, there are moments of beauty: a field of sunflowers, a rainbow during a storm, a fireworks display over the river. These moments provide a counterpoint to the film's darker themes and suggest that even amidst destruction, life continues.

The film's soundtrack is also noteworthy, incorporating a mix of classical music, operatic arias, and contemporary pop songs. These musical genres are often layered on top of each other, creating a sense of dissonance that mirrors the disorienting experiences of the protagonists.

Overall, Still Life is a thought-provoking film that lingers in the mind long after it is over. It offers a nuanced portrait of the impact of modernization on China and its people, and raises important questions about the costs and benefits of progress. The film's themes of loss, displacement, and redemption are universal, and its characters are complex and fully realized. This is a movie that rewards patience and reflection, and is highly recommended for anyone interested in cinema that explores the human condition.

Still Life is a 2006 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 81.

Still Life
Where to Watch Still Life
Still Life is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Still Life for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 48 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (7,158)
  • Metascore