An Elephant Sitting Still

“Over four extraordinary hours, Hu Bo paints a compelling portrait of contemporary China in this FIPRESCI Prize-winning debut that shows the remarkable promise of a young director who took his own life before completing what’s also his final feature.”


The society we live in is a whole, and we can not live without it. But we are all individuals who are estranged from each other in essence. And what this film shows is that we, the alienated but inextricably linked individuals, are collectively occupied.

1 Form and content:

The hand-held follow-up fromthe back to the front and back, the lenses that focus only on the subject for a long time and skip other people’s pictures, the scene scheduling that is accomplished by simultaneously changing the orientation of the human-machine, the reality of time elapsed with continuous images, and so on, are Tarkovsky’s immersion lenses in conjunction with Tal Bella’s. In the same day’s timeline, it tells the four protagonists’ respective situations and encounters, and uses clever clues to connect them. This is a multi-line narrative which tests the script’s ability and complex structure. There are also special environmental sound high-frequency recording in literary and artistic films and after-shake music with images to render emotional effects. All these sensory receptions are something that I, and probably most people, can easily feel while watching a movie.


2 Here and elsewhere:

The juvenile who was the only one who died in the world was the first to decide to leave. The destination is a circus propaganda poster saying that elephants can sit on the ground and sit in Manchuria. He wanted to leave the gray city and start a new life in the colorful Manchuria he had imagined.

In another space, the vice principal sitting next to the girl punctures the unrealistic daydream: “Every day is almost the same, slightly different, you don’t have to be confused about it, everyone will understand it in a while… It is not good to be alive, but it will always be painful. From birth, it has been painful. I thought it would be nice to change places. We will go to new places and continue to suffer. ” The new place is the same as the old world.

The young man thinks he can do anything, but he knows he has no talent. Even so, he has to leave.

Finally, the homeless girl and the old man who were also defeated by the “whole” met the young man at Shijiazhuang Railway Station. Before leaving, the old man said, “you can go anywhere, you can go. When we arrive, we will find that nothing is different. You look over there and think it must be better than here, but you can’t go, you can’t solve the problem here without going. But after that, he still got on the train to Manchuria.

The problems here can not be solved. The shuttle bus did not know how long it was, and the youth in the darkness seemed to be able to smell the elephant. It must be a dream. Because life is simply unable toget out of Shijiazhuang and Manchuria.

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3 Anger and talent:

Some people say that Hubo had been plagued by depression for a long time, perhaps because of poverty, frustration, or all sorts of uncompromising persistence. He said that compared with movies, novels are more autonomous and free. I haven’t read his novels, but I can feel the anger in his book from the text.

It’s all the rage of his society.

On the one hand, an artist with a free nature, and on the other, a director with a contract, we don’t know what he has experienced along the way from powerlessness to hopelessness in the face of viciousness around him (at least in his eyes) and anxiety within himself. Reality is not imaginary, although he can let the characters in the script in silence, but he can only die in silence. From a professional point of view, he may not be in line with the rules, but if I stand in his position, I sympathize with him. Because I can understand the uncompromising obsession.

His talent is absolutely beyond doubt. Whether it is form or content, this is a complete and colorful movie. Although you can always see the shadow of other directors, but as the first feature film, shooting time and other issues are limited under the premise of shooting this is not easy. He is sensitive and docile, docile and cruel, all of which are doomed to pessimism in his mind. But he is sober and unique. Obviously, the elephant sitting on the ground is another kind. He did it.

Unfortunately, there is no more wave in the world.

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