"Another reason I decided to make Xiao Wu is that in 1997 I was getting ready to graduate from the Beijing Film Academy and after four years of watching Chinese films, I still hadn’t seen a single one that had anything to do with the Chinese reality that I knew. After the Fifth Generation’s initial success, their artistic works started to undergo a lot of changes. One of these big changes came with Chen Kaige, who once said, ‘I increasingly feel that film should be used as a vehicle to describe legend.’ I, however, could not disagree more. Sure film can describe legend, but where is it written that film can’t depict other things as well? Unfortunately, most of the Fifth Generation directors all followed this trajectory… But there was a very clear disconnect between these films and the current Chinese reality that we are living in. There is something about this phenomenon that left me feeling very unsatisfied, and it was partially out of this frustration that I decided to make films. I told my collaborators at the time that I wanted to express the here and now, and that has been the aim of our films ever since.” — Jia Zhangke (2002)

Two posters for Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket.

Pickpocket // dir. Robert Bresson

Pickpocket // dir. Robert Bresson

Pickpocket // dir. Robert Bresson