An Elephant Sitting Still
Da xiang xi di er zuo
2018, Hu Bo, China, 234 min.
With Peng Yuchang, Yu Zhang, Wang Yuwen, Li Congxi
- Mon, Jul 22nd 6:00pm
- Sun, Jul 28th 1:00pm
"A landmark in modern Chinese cinema."—Tony Rayns, Sight and Sound
"One of the great achievements of recent cinema."—Richard Brody, The New Yorker
"Blunt yet surreal, hypnotic, unforgettable."—Ray Pride, Newcity
Acclaimed after its premiere at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival, this stunning debut would have heralded the arrival of a major new talent in Chinese cinema—had its 29-year-old director, embroiled in a dispute with the film's producers over its mammoth running time, not committed suicide four months earlier. An intimate epic that surveys the spiritual toll of China's dog-eat-dog economic boom from the perspective of those on the lower rungs of the social ladder, ELEPHANT takes place over a single day in an unnamed industrial city in northern China. The interlocking plotlines focus on four characters: Wei Bu, a high-school boy driven to stand up to a bully; his classmate Huang Ling, involved in an affair with a school administrator; the bully's older brother Yu Cheng, out to avenge him more out of obligation than conviction; and Wei Bu's grandfather, about to be dumped into a nursing home. Following his characters closely with extended Steadicam shots, director Hu Bo regards their struggles with an astringent and invigorating punk nihilism, tempered by a transcendent stoicism that is embodied by the creature named in the film's title. In Mandarin with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
Note: There will be a 15-minute intermission.