Run time: 133 mins
Featuring an outstanding lead performance from Zhao Tao, Ash Is Purest White is a sweeping (and highly compelling) story of love, vengeance and revolution.
Moving from 2001 to 2006 and finally 2018, the Chinese auteur’s latest film tracks the turbulent relationship between Qiao (Tao) and the mobster Bin (Liao Fan). In 2001 Bin is attacked by a rival gang, Qiao saves him. By not snitching, she takes the rap Bin and the gun and gets a five years inside. Jumping ahead to 2006, we find ourselves in the most thrilling chapter as Qiao gets out of jail, and chases the now disappeared Bin. After instructing her at the beginning about ‘jianghu’, the code of “righteousness and loyalty” in the criminal underworld, she is the one upholding it after taking the rap for him. Putting the art of con into con-artist, she survives through a series of witty and inventive scams, such as manipulating cheating men. This epic tale explores the transience of relationships in the rapidly changing culture in cities of a constantly shifting new-world China. (research Rachel Williams) It sounds like a jumble, but the film unravels it beautifully. Don’t miss it.