Jia Zhang-ke’s ‘Caught by the Tides’ Acquired by Sideshow and Janus for U.S. Release

Sideshow and Janus Films have acquired the latest film from China’s great auteur Jia Zhang-ke, “Caught by the Tides.” The film premiered in competition at Cannes in May 2024.

A love story at heart, “Caught by the Tides” stars Jia’s wife, the longtime actress Zhao Tao, in a story set across 23 years. As with his previous masterpieces “Platform,” “The World,” “A Touch of Sin,” and “Mountains May Depart,” the film is a canvas on which to portray the rapid changes in China this century — a period of explosive economic and technological growth. Zhao is romantically entangled with Li Zhubin against this backdrop, some of which Jia actually shot over the past 23 years. Like his “24 City,” it combines non-fiction and fiction elements. In this case, even clips from Jia’s previous films appear.

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Jia is unique in being a Mainland filmmaker deeply committed to exploring life in China today and speaking out when he feels he needs to, despite the overwhelming oppressive influence of the state. A theme in his movies has been how China’s emergence from poverty and into wealth for significant sectors of the population have resulted in an acceptance of authoritarian control: Improving quality of life and access to luxury has enabled a certainly complacency about lack of democratic freedoms. Nonetheless, he’s been able to make the films he wants to make.

In a statement, Sideshow and Janus Films said, “Jia Zhang-ke is one of the twenty-first century’s most important filmmakers and with ‘Caught by the Tides’ he delivers what will surely be considered one of his great films that gives us the gift of watching Zhao Tao across over two decades culminating in one of the best scenes of their career together. We are thrilled to bring this to American audiences in the coming months.”

Sideshow and Janus Films had a very impressive Cannes haul this year, acquiring Payal Kapadia’s Grand Prix winner “All We Imagine As Light,” Alain Guiraudie’s “Misericordia,” and Leos Carax’s “It’s Not Me,” as well as Gints Zilbalodis’ mesmerizing animated film, “Flow,” which, if played right, could especially have major potential at the box office.

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