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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars China versus the World, 11 Oct 2010
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The World [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
One of the most important contemporary Chinese filmmakers documenting the profound changes going on in his country, Jia Zhang Ke's use of a theme park in Beijing is an inspired choice of location that brilliantly and profoundly expresses the difficulties facing ordinary Chinese people as their country plunges headlong into modernisation, globalisation and economic reform.

The setting of The World is a theme park of major monuments and attractions from around the world, in reduced scale, the Eiffel Tower sitting alongside the Pyramids, London Bridge and the Piazza San Marco. Working in the park are many immigrants and workers who have travelled from remote country towns, some of them from the director's home town of Fenyang in the Shanxi province, some of them perhaps even the same characters stagnating there during the eighties in his earlier film, Platform. The theme park serves as a powerful metaphor for China's surreal relationship with the rest of the world at a time when, with the Beijing Olympics just around the corner, the country is moving into an international arena, seeing huge reforms and experiencing rapid economic expansion.

Jia's style is still very much low-key in regards to the narrative, though there is a considerable amount of poignancy, humour and irony in the drama of the minor disputes, friendships, affairs and problems faced by simple people with complex emotional lives. Set against the impressive background of reduced world monuments, the false glamour of their professions is at odds with the reality of the conditions they work and live under, and the small scale portraits of little lives caught up in a big machine evidently has implications on a larger scale. Beautifully shot, and looking incredible on Blu-ray, The World could just be the director's best film yet - but with the world changing quicker than he can film it (this film already superseded but perhaps not surpassed by Still Life and 24 City), there will always be new challenges for this remarkable young director.

Aside from the beautiful transfer of an impressively photographed film, the extra features on this release are extensive and to the high standard you would expect for a Masters of Cinema release. Several fascinating in-depth intimate documentaries and interviews with Jia Zhang Ke reveal a degree of sensitivity, intelligence and openness that one might not expect from familiarity with this director's work alone (which is also covered in detail here), as well as giving ample indication of the difficulties faced by any filmmaker working under arbitrary censorship laws in China. Available on Blu-ray only, this is an exemplary release that should be reason enough for any arthouse cinema fan who hasn't upgraded to do so now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE FIRST BLURAY RELEASE OF JIA ZHANGKE'S WORKS, 8 Feb 2014
By 
HAN XIAO "heaven851102" (CHINA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The World [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
AS THE FIRST BLURAY RELEASE OF JIA ZHANGKE'S WORKS, THIS IS SPLENDID WITH A FEW EXTRA FEATURES AND FAR BETTER IMAGE QUALITY THAN DVD EDITIONS. I SINCERELY HOPE "XIAOWU" "STILL LIFE" AND "UNKNOWN PLEASURES" WILL COME TO BLURAY SOON.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars disturbing, 15 Nov 2010
By 
P. J. Beaver (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The World [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Beautifully filmed, this movie gives insight into the extraordinary world of Chinese theme park performers, the surreal imitation and emotionally dead world in which they find themselves, the pain of their lives, and the problem of trying to find a better future as modernity and progress rushes ahead but with nothing to offer beyond being a part of someone elses spectacle. This in one of those movies that transports you to a real world that you'd rather not be a part of, but in staying there a while you come out feeling richer in the end.
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The World [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray]
The World [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray] by Jia Zhang-ke (Blu-ray - 2010)
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