Film Review: An Obsessive Couple’s Journey in ‘Ash is Purest White’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – Obsessive love is a movie story staple, and “Ash is Purest White” puts a Chinese point-of-view on this strange phenomenon. This is a coupling in the background of organized crime and a changing China, and their success and failure is based on the events surrounding them as much as their devotion to each other.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The film is dreamy, almost surreal, as it takes place between 2001 and 2018. The lead actors portraying the couple in essence represent the emerging capitalist China, setting their sights on territory, both within the relationship and the small fiefdoms that popped up in China’s soaring economy. At some point, after a key event, the film switches into a deliberateness that slows down everything, and it becomes a narrative not of action but of searching for something that didn’t exist in the first place. In a sense, the new China is precisely that … a dream that can never exist in their culture. In essence, “upward mobility” corrupts everything and everybody.

Bin (Fan Liao) is a mob boss who has a constant target on his back. His lover is Qiao (Tao Zhao) whose devotion extends beyond just emotional support. Together, they direct their group of loyalists and operations as China begins to grow. When opposing forces corner Bin in a street fight, Qiao fires a weapon, saving his life, but has to do jail time because the gun is illegal.

After serving her time, Qiao comes into a different world. She searches for Bin, but finally comes to the realization that he doesn’t want her anymore. Wandering aimlessly, she uses her street smarts to build another nest egg, and eventually resumes her role as den mother to some low level players. Bin comes back into her life at this point, crippled in a wheelchair after a stroke. The final chapter of their story is about to begin.

“Ash is Purest White” continued its limited release in Chicago on April 5th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Tao Zhao, Fan Liao, Yi’nan Diao, Caspar Liang and Zheng Xu. Written and directed by Zhangke Jia. Not Rated.

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Ash is Purest White”

Ash1
Qiao (Tao Zhao) and Bin (Fan Liao) in ‘Ash is Purest White’
Photo credit: Cohen Media Group

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Ash is Purest White”

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker