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still Pickpocket (Xiao Wu) (Jia Zhang-ke)


Jia Zhang-ke / CN, HK, 1998 / 108 min.

Jia Zhang-Ke rocketed to international fame with his feature film debut Pickpocket. This film about the life of a young petty thief in 1990s China is still regarded as a brilliant commentary on a fast modernising China.

poster Vive le cinéma! Exhibition + film, talks & events

Xiao Wu spends his time in Fenyang, a provincial town of some 300,000 residents. Wu is the Chinese counterpart of the western slacker; he refuses to take any responsibilities and saunters through life without much effort. He has no ambitions in life and gets by as a small-time criminal, his specialty being pickpocketing.

Restored by the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with MK2 and in collaboration with Jia Zhangke. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.



Jia Zhang-ke

Production year




Original title

Xiao Wu


108 min.


Mandarin Chinese





Part of

Vive le cinéma! Art & Film

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Filmmuseum and the 50th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), Eye and the IFFR have selected five film directors from five continents as a way of celebrating the unlimited power and diversity of world cinema, which is so vital for the programming.

Learn more
campaign image Vive le cinéma!, work by Leopold Emmen
still Pickpocket (Xiao Wu) (Jia Zhang-ke)
still Pickpocket (Xiao Wu) (Jia Zhang-ke)

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