In an interview with Tony Rayns, Jia Zhang-ke stated: 'When I shoot fiction, I usually want to maintain a certain objectivity in presenting the characters in their settings. But when I shoot documentary, I want to capture the ‘drama’ that’s inherent in reality - and I want to carefully express my subjective impressions.'
Just as in his films Dong and Still Life, in his latest documentary, Jia brings together very different worlds that are linked together, be it voluntarily or not. Useless, a film about fashion and clothing production in 2007, investigates the human condition in contemporary China based on three places involved with this incredibly large branch of Chinese industry.
Jia's style is very deliberate. Each scene has clearly been conceived in order to visualise the inherent drama in the most natural and penetrating way possible. The director compares a small sewing shop with the immense hall where the only aim of the production line is to make a profit. Tradition faces industrialisation, and this contradiction is only made stronger by Jia's portrait of the designer Ma Ke, who in Paris wants to call a halt to forgetting with her designs influenced by history and philosophy. To this the director adds his documentary statement against the unbridled exploitation of people and natural resources.

Original title
Wu yong
Filmmaker
Country
China
Year
2007
Medium
HDcam
Length
81’
Language
Mandarin, French, English
Producer
Yu Lik-wai, Zhao Tao, youyishanren
Production Company
Xstream Pictures Limited
Sales
Memento Films International
Cinematography
Yu Likwai, Jia Zhang-ke
Editor
Zhang Jia
Sound Design
Zhang Yang
Music
Lim Giong
Cast
Ma Ke