The new one, with Matt Damon, might actually be a new low for him. Worst part being that most likely, more people will see that one, instead of something like Qiu Ju or Raise the Red Lantern
As for Yellow Earth; Ye, I've noticed that there are few of those version out there. The film, is even uploaded on Youtube, but I don't think it looks very good. I'm waiting for a good release, then I'll definitely watch it. Although, there are no news of any restoration and those who are supposed to actually care, don't appear to give a damn about Chinese film. Not much attention is paid to anything from Hong Kong or Taiwan either. Most likely, I'll have to watch some crappy copy online unless I want to wait for...who knows how long.
If I were to break Jia Zhangke's filmography, then it would be something like this;
The first four films, Xiao Wu (Pickpocket), Platform, Unknown Pleasures and The World -- all of these are either truly great or at least near that level.
Still Life is good. The films he made after that one, 24 City, is also good. Then he made an even better film, A Touch of Sin, which is very good. And then of course there's his most recent film, Mountains May Depart. I seem to be in a minority, but I thought that one was a disaster.
All the films mentioned, are all of the feature films he's directed. All of them can be found on dvd. The World, does even have an excellent Masters of Cinema blu-ray. If you care about extras, to give you more context , then I'd highly recommend that version.
Best way to go about his films, would be to start with Xiao Wu, and then work your way through in chronological order.
No, I'm from Sweden and I have no connection to China or anything like that.