Jia Zhangke's 2006 STILL LIFE documents the rapid deconstruction of Fengjie, a small town on China's Yangtze River, in preparation for the Three Gorges Dam project, which would become the world's largest power station. In the midst of a radically transforming landscape—of rubble, decay, and the soon to be demolished buildings—two people search for their missing spouses.
"When I went to look at Fengjie, the location where we shot the film, every county we saw had basically been reduced to rubble. Seeing this place, with its 2,000 years of history and dense neighborhoods left in ruins, my first impression was that human beings could not have done this. The changes had occurred so fast and on such a large scale, it was as if a nuclear war or an extraterrestrial had done it." — Jia Zhangke
by Jia Zhangke
2006, digital projection, 112 min
Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie?
"Something as simple as a herring roasting on a hearth, or a meal of bread, wine and winter melon, takes on the humble aura of a Caravaggio painting in this masterful film. That is to say, Straub-Huillet extol ordinary Sicilians who are poor of means but rich in spirit. Filmed in Syracuse and Messina, SICILIA! is a tragicomedy involving an orange peddler, an Italian recently returned from America, two “stinky” police officers, a guilt-stricken landowner, a traveling knife sharpener and, perhaps most unforgettably, an indomitable peasant mother who reminisces about meals of snails and wild chicory, her husband’s philandering and cowardice, and her own father’s belief in an honest day’s labor, socialism, and St. Joseph." - MoMA
SICILIA! will be screened as a double feature with Pedro Costa's WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? Costa is granted access to Straub and Huillet in their post-production process with the material of Sicilia! in this exquisite documentary-meditation on filmmaking. We see the work that goes into the process of constructing a film—every cut, its effect and its reason is discussed, at times argued over—in what Costa later called his first comedy and love story.
by Jean Marie-Straub and Danièle Huillet
1998, digital projection, 66 min
WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE?
by Pedro Costa
2001, digital projection, 104 min
Film Food Footnotes
Film Food Footnotes is filmfront's entry into the world of self-publishing. A collaboration with Imani Jackson from Conjugation Press, Film Food Footnotes is a booklet that loosely examines moments of food in film in some of our favorite movies: Sicilia!; Still Life (Sam Taylor-Wood); The Gleaners and I; Jeanne Dielman; Bicycle Thieves; Still Life (Jia Zhangke); and Earth. All of this month's screenings feature films from the book.
Celebrate the release of our booklet and 2 years of programming at filmfront on Sunday, July 30!
Signature beverage inspired by Jia Zhangke's Still Life made possible by filmfront friend and bartender Charles Clark.
Series continues into August...