fbpx I Wish I Knew | Gene Siskel Film Center
Chicago premiere! New restoration!

I Wish I Knew

Hai shang chuan qi

2010, Jia Zhang-ke, China, 119 min.

Show Times

  • Fri, Feb 14th 6:00pm
  • Sat, Feb 15th 6:00pm
  • Wed, Feb 19th 7:45pm

"Wondrous yet rueful...Jia is simply one of the best and most important directors in the world."—Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"A wonderfully subtle and constantly intriguing picture…[Jia's] most approachable film."—Patryk Czekaj, Screen Anarchy

Widely considered China's most important contemporary filmmaker, Jia (STILL LIFE, ASH IS PUREST WHITE) focuses on the city of Shanghai in this ambitious documentary, never before released in the U.S. The city's present in captured in stunningly composed widescreen images that emphasize the juxtaposition of decay and progress, often incorporating the hazy expanse of the Yangtze River. The past is explored through interviews with the survivors of such upheavals as the Civil War and the Cultural Revolution, their stories often marked by violent death and exile (the latter subject occasioning side-trips to Taiwan and Hong Kong). As in his other major documentary 24 CITY, Jia blurs the line between fact and fiction, with his muse Zhao Tao serving as a recurrent presence wandering through the city. In its latter stages, much of the film concerns China's cinematic past, with excerpts and interviews (including Hou Hsiao-hsien) evoking the often contentious relationship between art and politics. In Mandarin with English subtitles. New DCP digital widescreen restoration. (MR)

Play Trailer