The central themes of Ash is Purest White, is the time and space of our lives. This is a love story kept at a distance and a tragic tale of a failed relationship. Qiao (Tao Zhao) and Bin (Fan Liao) are a couple that run a mahjong club together. They smoke cigarettes constantly, serve drinks to their circle of regulars, and Bin tries his hand at being a small time gangster. With the narrative starting in 2001 and ending in 2018, it gives us enough time to watch the couple engage in moments of pleasure, fall apart from one another, and eventually reconnect after the dust of past turmoils have settled. Even with a periodically frustratingly slow pace, Ash is Purest White is a poignant film from director Zhangke Jia, about the sacrifices we make for others and the pain that comes after.