This is my first time to attend such kind of film festivals, not only due to the recommendations of the unit coordinators but also that I have heard of a sad story about an true believer of idealsm.
It’s all about the movie An Elephant Sitting Still, a reflection of the society and a sigh of an idealist. There is an elephant in the Manzhouli Zoo, sitting there every day. The teenager who is a friend, the bully brother who avenged his brother, the girl who is trapped in the shackles, can’t get out of the dark gap in the world, but struggles to see the elephant. On the day of the bleak winter, the desperate figure collided in the asymmetric unbalanced image, bursting the oppressive depression, spreading wildly in the low-cost production of rough sets and lights. The author and director Hu Bo (pen name Hu Qiang) made the first work, with the simplicity and shock of the Qing dynasty, and was recognized by the Berlin Film Festival as a finalist in the forum unit, but it was a lost puzzle that could not be fitted with a harmonious main theme. The inability to see the elephant is a common fate, and Hu Bo suddenly fell, and it has become the regret of this generation.
This is my second film that I had booked while the first one is Angels Wear White. That is repressed enough, but not that disappointed compared with the elephant. I almost finished the film with my sadness and despair. It’s not based on the film itself, but the experiences and the dreams of Hu Bo instead.
On October 12, 2017, young writer, director and screenwriter Hu Bo hung up suiside at home in Beijing. The news spread quickly on social media. The amazement, embarrassment, and regrets filled the writers circle and the art film circle. The conclusion of the suicide caused by the misbehavior of the debut, and the winter spring film industry that closely cooperated with him fell into public opinion. In people’s minds, the loss of creation, the distress of life, and Hu Bo, who was not very cheerful in his personality, made an extreme choice. For a time, the snobbish film circle that did not leave any retreat for the creators became a bystander to vent their emotions of being resentful and arrogant.
Before his death, Hu Bo, who was less than 30 years old, had published two novels, The Great Split and The Bullfrog, and won the first prize in the sixth Chinese-language world movie novel in Taiwan. The first feature film An Elephant Sitting Still is being produced in the post, and the new project is gradually becoming clear. He is regarded as the dark horse of the Chinese language writer, writing his suffocating life in an indifferent and absurd city with his own pen. The film scripts born out of the novel were quickly appreciated by the employers at the venture capital conference, and advanced at the envy of other young creators. And just as life seems to be getting better, he unexpectedly chose to end his life, leaving the director’s cut version of An Elephant Sitting Still. It is believed that this 230-minute film is the key to unlocking the cause of Hu Bo’s death, not only because the director had caused serious contradictions due to the length of the film and the producer, but he was disheartened by the threat of deprivation of the right to sign. Moreover, this story of desperate feelings in the cities of northern China can be seen as Hu Bo’s last footnote to his life. On February 16th, An Elephant Sitting Still held an international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. This work, which was mysterious because of the director’s suicide, finally unveiled a heavy veil in front of the audience. We can only reconcile the story of Hu Bo along the path indicated by this movie, and re-recognize and remember this idealist who left early.