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Hu Bo’s An Elephant Sitting Still is a meteor that has passed through the nights sky and fallen, much like the filmmaker himself. This is the first and last film of the novelist-turned-director, who committed suicide soon after finishing the film. The film itself reflects on the inner anxiety of most Chinese people suffering in the process of new centralised systems and the real-life scene that people betray and hurt each other.
In the northern Chinese city of Manzhouli, they say there is an elephant that simply sits and ignores the world. Manzhouli becomes an obsession for the protagonists of this film, a longed-for escape from the downward spiral in which they find themselves. Among them is schoolboy Bu, on the run after pushing Shuai down the stairs, who was bullying him previously. Bu's classmate Ling has run away from her mother and fallen for the charms of her teacher. Shuai's older brother Cheng feels responsible for the suicide of a friend. And finally, along with many other characters whose fates are inextricably bound together, there's Mr. Wang, a sprightly pensioner whose son wants to offload him onto a home. In virtuoso visual compositions, the film tells the story of one single suspenseful day from dawn to dusk, when the train to Manzhouli is set to depart.
Zhang Yu, Peng Yuchang, Wang Yu Wen, Congxi Li