The new biopic of Charles Darwin, Creation, is loaded with potential for major drama, even apart from the fact that the scientist’s ideas on evolution still provoke, 150 years after On the Origin of Species was published. (Producer Jeremy Thomas told the UK’s Telegraph that he was amazed that as of this fall the film had no stateside distributor because of its content -- and the contention going on about Creation on US Christian Web sites: “That’s what we’re up against. In 2009.
New York Times critic Manohla Dargis was exactly on point when she described Beijing director Jia Zhang-ke as “one of the most original filmmakers working today.” Working above and underground with quiet audacity and a refined eye, Jia seems to have undertaken the sizable task of documenting a changing China -- with a clear-eyed attention to the grit and banality of daily life that Italian neo-realists and documentarians can appreciate, and a lyricism that poets can applaud. A product of Chinese cinema’s so-called Sixth Generation, Jia appears to be working toward a hybrid cinema that seamlessly fuses the real and ineffable.