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Film Series: Runs & Limited Engagements

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

Show Times

  • Fri, Apr 26th 2:00pm
  • Sat, Apr 27th 7:00pm
  • Sun, Apr 28th 1:00pm
  • Mon, Apr 29th 6:00pm
  • Wed, May 1st 6:00pm
Chicago premiere!

"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.

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