The film started on a gloomy morning, and gloomy was almost the dominant tone of the movie. In a small part of Hebei Province, though the scene of the railway station was Shijiazhuang, I thought Hu Bo wanted to express it in a small city around Shijiazhuang.
High school student Webb was reprimanded by his family, grandpa was rushed to the nursing home by his children, mixed up with a good friend’s woman to sleep, Huang Ling at home because of toilet hygiene problems with her mother.
Everyone dreams of escaping from their lives and going to Manchuria, where an elephant sits on the ground.
Starting with four interrelated sectional narratives, the shooting technique and its rudeness reminded me of last year’s documentary I filmed for my hometown town. I didn’t know the production team had checked it, but I felt like almost all the shooting was done with a single camera, probably without track, and all the shooting was done. Photographers shoot hand-held, some pictures are shaking, everyone’s face is not polished, and its rough shooting method.
Four people are related to each other because of their own troubles and troubles, as if they fell into a strange circle, the last four people choose the same road, to see the elephant in Manchuria, to see another place, maybe that place is better, Wang Jin knows that anywhere, will not be better, all the land Fang is the same.
None of the characters in the movie in these four hours were “good guys,” and everyone put the blame on someone else when things happened. The owner of the king’s golden dog was killed, Webb’s friend who stole the mobile phone, the ox who sold fake tickets, Huang Ling’s mother, the grandfather who played ball, Yu Cheng’s favorite woman and Yu Cheng’s parents.
The whole movie created an atmosphere of pessimism, indifference, selfishness and mourning. Director Hu Bo’s world and world outlook is a very complete unity of existence, pure pessimism is an endless despair. Everyone in his novels, every character in his movies, seems to be pacing back and forth in the same kind of desperation, unable to find an outlet, giving himself an outlet of fantasy, no matter how absurd, ridiculous, untouchable, unimportant. As long as there is such an export. His unification is also achieved in the audiovisual language of the film, where dialogue uses shallow depth-of-field lenses, back-swinging music and dark scenes make it impossible for viewers to stand aside, as if it were not just the frustrated and desperate characters who fled this lifeless town, but the struggling you in life.
Those who are powerless to resist despair are those who use malicious attacks to despair. The evil in human nature is magnified infinitely in a space that can only filter out despair, and we have to comfort ourselves, which is a way for those who are not brave enough to face the world. Those who can ignore life’s despair are happy. They always have chaotic fantasies about the world. They do not need hope.