Platform (站台Zhantai)

Film poster of Platform

Director: Jia Zhangke

Screenplay: Jia Zhangke

Cinematographer: Yu Lik-Wai

Producer: Li Kit-Ming, Shozo Ichiyama

Art Director: He Qun

Music: Yoshihiro Hanno

Cast: Wang Hongwei, Zhao Tao, Liang Jingdong, Yang Tianyi

Production company: Hu Tong Communication (HongKong); T-Mark Inc. (Japan); Artcam International (France); Office Kitano Inc., Bandai Visual Co.Ltd (Japan). and with the participation of Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Centre National de la Cinématographie (France) and the contribution of Foundation Montecinemaverità, Locarno (Switzerland), United Colours of Benetton, Direction du Développementet de la Coopération (DDC) Départment Fédéral des Affaires Etrangèrs (Switzerland), 2000

Description: DVD/VHS; color; sound; 150 minutes.

Director's Statement:

"Platform" takes place over the years between 1979 and 1989, a period when the greatest change and reform took place in China. That decade was also very important for my growing up. In China, we have a tendency to connect national fate with individual fortune, political condition and human situation. We experienced a great deal in the past 10 years, during which much has been secularized from the loss of revolutionary ideal to the coming of the consumer age.

"Platform" was a hit rock song throughout China during the 1980s. It is a song about expectation. I choose it as my film title as a reference to everyday hope. A platform can be both the starting point as well as the finishing one. We are always expecting, searching. Always on the road to somewhere.

The narrative of "Platform" follows the development of the characters against a background of constant change. Behind the natural process of birth, age, illness and death, life bears the feeling that one has no alternatives but to follow it. "Platform" is a film about human beings, through which I want to explore and exhibit the progressive power hidden among people. "Platform" tells of a phase of experience among the masses, which I embrace all the time.

(Source: Asian Film Connection)


Named after a hit 80s Chinese pop song, 'Platform,' the film follows the lives of four friends of a state performing troupe in the small town of Fenyang, Shanxi, through the transformational years of contemporary China, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.

At the beginning of the film, the young people stage propaganda plays in praise of Mao, but secretly long for a different life style and the outside world. As the country opens up to the free market and implements wide-ranging reform, their lives in the innerland are slowly but irrevocably changed as the world around them is transformed by the music, fashions and privatization of the troupe...

About the director:

Jia Zhangke (1970-) was born in a small town Fenyang, Shanxi. He studied painting at a fine arts school in Taiyan and had an interest in writing before he entered the Beijing Film Academy (BFA) to study film theory and script writing in 1993. In 1995, he founded the Youth Experimental Film Group, the first independent film production organization in China. Still at school, he directed two shorts with the group, Xiao Shan Going Home, which won the Gold Prize at the Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Awards, and Du Du. He made his first feature Xiao Wu in the year of graduation in 1997, which brought him international attention and prizes at Berlin, Pusan, Vancouver, Nantes, San Francisco, Brussels, etc. Its success on the global festival circuit led to a partnership with Japanese director Takeshi Kitano's production company, whose funding allowed him to make his ambitious second feature Platform (2000), an over two and half hours long epic documenting the transformational years in China from the late 1970s to early 1990s. His third feature Unkown Pleasures (2002) emerged from a short documentary project Jia completed about the city of Datong, featuring dreams and disillusions of young people in the contemporary post-industrial wasteland. Internationally acclaimed, however, Jia's first three feature films were underground indie productions and remain unreleased in China. It was until 2004 that he obtained official permission and collaborated with Shanghai Film Studio to produce his fourth feature The World (2004), which participated in the 2004 Venice Film Festival and was scheduled for domestic and global screening in April 2005.

About the cinematographer:

Yu Lik-Wai (1966-) was born in Hong Kong. He studied film at the INSAS (Institut National Supérieur des Arts de Spectacle) in Belgium and the Beijing Film Academy in China. He wrote and directed Love will tear us apart(1999), All Tomorrow's Parties (2003), produced The Longest Summer (1998). He is also active as a cinematographer and has been involved in many Ann Hui's and Jia Zhangke's films.

Questions to ponder:

These are a few questions suggested for you to think about while reading the assigned articles and watching the film. Please jot down ideas and notes on details or scenes you think are relevant for class discussion.

1. The film is set between 1979 and 1989 and subtle references are made to historical events, changes in political and economic policy, and social transformations that took place during that period. Think about the relationship between History and the lives of the characters in the film. How does this transformation affect the lives of the characters?

2. One important aspect of the transformation that takes place during this period is increased contact with the West (i.e., globalization). What do you think the filmmaker's view of globalization is?

3. The film also draws attention to the specific locale of Fenyang (in Shanxi province) through use of local dialect and the local setting. How is this important in the film?

3. How would you characterize the style of the film?


Song Lyrics:


Lyrics: Huang Pusheng; Music: Liu Ke; Singer: Liu Hong; Album: Craze 1987

The long, long platform, endless waiting

The long, long train carries my fleeting love

Noisy platform, lonely waiting

There is only departing love, no returning love

Oh, lonesome platform

Oh, lonely waiting

My heart is waiting, always waiting

My heart is waiting, always waiting

My heart is waiting, always waiting

My heart is waiting, waiting...

(trans. Ying Bao)


:黄蒲生; : 刘克; 演唱: 刘鸿; 专辑:87狂热











Relevant readings:

Web Sources:

Jia Zhangke, by Kevin Lee at Sense of Cinema.

Platform. J. Hoberman's film review for Village Voice, 2/3/01