I recently watched part of the film Still Life again. It is a recent Sixth Generation Chinese, multiple award winning film directed by Jia Zhangke. The film follows a story using parallel plotting. The first plot concerns a man Han Sanming and the second concerning a woman Shen Hong. The film is driven mainly by cinematographic images rather than the dialogue and narrative. The dialogue and narrative is present but they are not as predominant as the images and cinematography. It involves making choices between types of shot, types, of lenses, camera movement, along with more technical aspects. The cinematographic characteristics in Still Life support the overall themes. It takes all of the other elements of film and ties them together with the art of camera movement, composition, and framing.
The cinematography draws attention to the magnificence of both the natural landscapes and the deteriorating urban scenery. It also compliments the film’s themes urban displacement and change. Since there wasn’t a lot of dialogue I enjoyed analyzing how the movie told the story through all of the other elements. I think each individual element within the cinematography, such as mobile framing, symmetric composition, depth of field, and the immense amount of camera movement, lead the themes and narrative to success.