Ash Is Purest White is a sprawling tale of crime and troubled romance in China from Jia Zhangke, one of the masters of modern urban cinema.
The film orbits the stunning central performance from Zhao Tao (the director’s long-time collaborator), who plays Qiao, the girlfriend of small-time mobster Bin (Liao Fan). When Qiao is jailed for committing a crime to save Bin, she longs to leave prison and be reunited with her lover. But she soon discovers that time does not stand still on the outside.
Punctuated by a bloody street brawl and a fantastically surprising use of the Village People’s ‘YMCA’, this is a mesmerising noir on an enormous canvas.
“This is one of Zhangke's peak achievements: pure cinema, and a story of the underworld unlike anything you've seen before.” – MICHAEL PHILLIPS, CHICAGO TRIBUNE