7.3/10
5,129
36 user 101 critic

Still Life (2006)

San xia hao ren (original title)
Unrated | | Drama | 16 November 2006 (Hong Kong)
Trailer
1:45 | Trailer
A town in Fengjie county is gradually being demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. A man and woman visit the town to locate their estranged spouses, and become witness to the societal changes.

Director:

Zhangke Jia

Writers:

Zhangke Jia (screenplay), Na Guan | 1 more credit »
14 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Zhantai (2000)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A theatre troupe from rural Fenyang struggles under the decline of communism and rise of popular culture in China in the 1980s.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Hongwei Wang, Tao Zhao, Jing Dong Liang
Xiao Wu (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Little pocket thief Wu never got away from the streets like his friends did. He realises that he is alone, as his old buddy doesn't invite him for his wedding. When he falls in love with a ... See full summary »

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Hongwei Wang, Hongjian Hao, Baitao Zuo
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The life of Tao, and those close to her, is explored in three different time periods: 1999, 2014, and 2025.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Tao Zhao, Yi Zhang, Jing Dong Liang
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Four independent stories set in modern China about random acts of violence.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Wu Jiang, Baoqiang Wang, Tao Zhao
Ren xiao yao (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two unemployed Chinese teenagers have trouble resisting the temptations of the Western world.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Wei Wei Zhao, Qiong Wu, Tao Zhao
Shijie (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An exploration on the impact of urbanization and globalization on a traditional culture.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Tao Zhao, Taishen Cheng, Jue Jing
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Change and a city in China. In Chengdu, factory 420 is being pulled down to make way for multi-story buildings with luxury flats. Scenes of factory operations, of the workforce, and of ... See full summary »

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Jianbin Chen, Joan Chen, Liping Lü
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A story of violent love within a time frame spanning from 2001 to 2017.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Tao Zhao, Fan Liao, Yi'nan Diao
I Wish I Knew (2010)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Focuses on the people, their stories and architecture spanning from the mid-1800s, when Shanghai was opened as a trading port, to the present day.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Yindi Cao, Hsin-i Chang, Danqing Chen
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A cook living in Beijing, whose employment is coming to an end, plans to return home to his rural village for the New Year. He approaches several of his old friends, also working in the ... See full summary »

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Shuzhe Dong, Hongwei Wang, Sheng Yao
Summer Palace (2006)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Yu Hong leaves her home village and starts university in Beijing, where she develops a consuming and compulsive relationship with another student. The student riots from 1989 then ensue and take a toll on their lives.

Director: Ye Lou
Stars: Lei Hao, Xiaodong Guo, Xueyun Bai
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

While travelling the countryside to locate his nephew, a small town doctor finds himself interacting with people from his past and future.

Director: Gan Bi
Stars: Yongzhong Chen, Yue Guo, Linyan Liu
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Tao Zhao ... Shen Hong
Zhou Lan Zhou Lan ... Huang Mao
Sanming Han ... Sanming
Lizhen Ma Lizhen Ma ... Missy Ma
Hongwei Wang Hongwei Wang ... Wang Dongming
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kai Chen Kai Chen
Ronghu Chen Ronghu Chen
Jian Chieng Jian Chieng
Chuanan Fang Chuanan Fang
Zhongming He Zhongming He
Yong Huang Yong Huang
Deping Jiang Deping Jiang
Shiping Jiang Shiping Jiang
Tianyah Lan Tianyah Lan
Bin Li Bin Li
Edit

Storyline

Against the backdrop of the mammoth Three Gorges Dam engineering project in the declining city of Fengjie, a poor mine worker from Shanxi, Sanming, arrives in the dilapidated town in the hope of finding his unknown daughter and his ex-wife, Missy Ma, who left him nearly 16 years ago. But in the meantime, a nurse from Taiyuan, Shen Hong, also comes to Fengjie in search of her husband who's been missing for almost two years. Though Shen and Sanming are two perfect strangers, their parallel quests for their beloved missing ones signify the urgency to retrieve what lies hidden in the past, as man is dwarfed by an ever-changing landscape which threatens to bury one's memories deep under water. Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

16 November 2006 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Still Life See more »

Filming Locations:

Fengjie, China See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

CNY 10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,036, 20 January 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$68,236, 16 March 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2007 (#02, tied with "Inland Empire" and "Death Proof"). See more »

Quotes

Brother Mark: You're a nostalgist.
Shen Hong: We can't forget who we are.
See more »

Connections

Features A Better Tomorrow (1986) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Three Gorges Good People and the magic of perseverance
18 September 2006 | by saaremanSee all my reviews

Reviewed at the North American premiere screening Tues. Sept. 12, 2006 at the Varsity 8 Theatre during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

I was lucky enough to be at TIFF screenings on Monday when it was announced that Sanxia Haoren was going to have a special one-time screening as a last minute addition to the Visions programme of TIFF 2006. I think the online tickets went fairly quickly and the theatre was packed with a considerable overflow of film writers & critics who had been unable to squeeze into the industry screening.

Sanxia Haoren has been given the title Still Life for international release, but the original Chinese title would seem to translate simply as Three Gorges Good People and it is in the vicinity of the dam's construction and the city demolitions and the people displacement entailed by it, that the film takes place. The film has a bookend plot of a miner Han Sanming (character's and actor's names are identical) who comes to the town of Fengjie to search for his estranged wife and child. The centrepiece story is that of a nurse named Shen Hong who is searching for her missing husband.

The dour faced Han Sanming is initially a cause of concern as it seems at the very start he is going to be swindled by tricksters on the river ferry but he soon shows that he can hold his own. We then think he is going to conned by a sarcastic motorcycle taxi driver who takes him to the location of his supposed house only for him to find it is now submerged under water. Things soon settle down for Han though as he finds lodging in a boarding house and work as a house demolition man on a crew with a brash young man who seems to have learned all his life lessons from the movies of Chow Yun Fat. Various humorous interludes (such as a young boy who sneaks cigarettes and roams around singing overly romantic songs which usually degenerate into an off-key screech by their end) and certain magic sequences (which I won't spoil) serve to bring comedy and wonder along the way. Several times the screen is seemingly chapter titled with the words "cigarette", "liquor", "tea" and "toffee", when these items occur during the plot, and any other meaning to this device eluded me. The journey of Shen Hong is similarly full of encounters with different characters on the way. I don't think the two stories actually intersected, but I may have been somewhat tired at this mid-way mark of TIFF as this screening went from 10:30 pm to 12:30 am.

The impression that the actors were perhaps simply playing versions of themselves was reinforced later in the week when I also caught the same director's documentary "Dong" which follows painter Liu Xiao-dong around locations at the Three Gorges Dam and it turned out that Han Sanming was actually one of the sturdy workmen that painter Liu was using for his models in a large multi-paneled painting of men. A blond-dye haired motorcycle taxi driver of Still Life makes a cameo appearance in Dong as well.

I found both of these films equally absorbing as they told stories of regular people in somewhat extreme life-changing situations and also that the 2 films complemented each other in a symbiotic way. Seeing one will enhance your appreciation of the other and vice versa. Both films are very deliberately paced but very lyrical and if you have an appreciation for slower paced film they are very rewarding. Also, if you did not have any concept of the magnitude of what is going on in the Three Gorges area, these films will give you a first hand view.

The director Jia Zhang-ke was not in attendance for the North American premiere, as he presumably was still in Venice celebrating his win of the Golden Lion for this film and 2 awards for the documentary.


16 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 36 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Check Out What's Playing on IMDb Freedive

See what movies and TV series you can watch for free today, and visit IMDb Freedive for even more. Select any poster below to play the movie!

Find more things to watch

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed