I Wish I Knew

critic Reviews

100% Fresh Tomatometer Score100%
  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Robert AbeleLos Angeles Times
    The resulting mix of image and interview, weariness and wonder, makes for a sober assessment of just how much change China's largest city has been through since the 1930s...
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Glenn KennyRogerEbert.com
    I Wish I Knew functions as an admirable cinematic tone poem about a place and its times.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Manohla DargisNew York Times
    Jia is building not just a portrait of a city, but of a fragmented people - one story and memory at a time.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Lawrence GarciaAV Club
    [A]n expansive exploration of Shanghai as a cultural center shaken by converging historical forces.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Richard BrodyNew Yorker
    The poignant historical ironies of the Chinese director Jia Zhangke's documentary, commissioned by last year's Shanghai World Expo, begin with the title...
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Guy DixonGlobe and Mail
    The pacing is steady. The stories are told simply, with zero affectation or buildup by the director. The effect is astonishing.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Dave PlattBattleship Pretension
    Jia has a gift for exposing the underside of words like 'development', 'progress' or 'revolution', abstract political or economic programs that manifest at the cost of people's physical and cultural displacement.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Joshua BrunstingThe CriterionCast
    Making its theatrical debut stateside a decade after bowing at the Cannes Film Festival, Jia Zhangke's documentary is a masterpiece worthy of (re)discovery.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Lee JuttonFilm Inquiry
    One of the more poetic documentaries I have ever seen, I Wish I Knew is an ode to the impact one city has had, across so many decades, on so many lives.
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  • Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Jonathan RomneyFilm Comment Magazine
    Ending a minor but fascinating film in Jia's provocative oeuvre, the images of these sleepers are a prelude to the other troubled dreams of China (A Touch of Sin, Mountains May Depart, Ash Is the Purest White) that he has made since.
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