USELESS

无用

Directed by Jia Zhang-ke

Official Selection, 2007 Venice Film Festival

Jia Zhang-ke’s ode to fashion in China is an awe-inspiring documentary triptych: a textile factory that is a microcosm of labor, a fashion designer taking Chinese haute couture to Paris, a tailor who outfits a mining town. The three sections are woven together with the tender thread of Jia’s signature roaming camera, a visual rhyme as politically astute as it is a tender tribute to the ordinary folks under the stitches, the frills, and the patches. Whether avant-garde or kitschy, local or global, useless or life-affirming, fashion according to Jia is always ready to surprise and unsettle, especially in a China where nothing is ever as it seems.

–Brian Hu

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